This Chick Read: A Sinister Revenge (Veronica Speedwell #8) by Deanna Raybourn

Intrepid heroine and lepidopterist, Veronica Speedwell, has been separated from her beau Stoker for quite a few months when his brother Tiberius, Lord Templeton-Vane requests their help in solving a murder. Off they go to Bavaria to tempt Stoker from his foray in the woods with an offer to fix up an iguanodon for a dinner party. As the other guests arrive Veronica gets caught up in solving the mystery but doesn’t forget that she needs to heal the breach between she and Stoker as well.

This series has evolved over time from a solid historical mystery that now mixes in a healthy dose of romance. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bodice ripper, but there is a healthy bit of emotional content. I have totally bought into the Veronica/Stoker romance. They are both smart, eccentric, and physical. Veronica’s background as an orphan with royal ties raised by two “aunts” is a perfect contrast to Stoker’s privileged yet troubled upbringing. When they initially met it was an attraction of the minds, but the inevitable happened and their relationship became more. I’ll admit I have a tendre for well written romances and Veronica and Stoker’s rate right up there for me.

As much as I talk about the romance between our two main characters, these are truly historical mysteries. A Sinister Revenge had all the drama of a great whodunnit and my head was spinning trying to figure out who the culprit might be. I’ll admit to being a little surprised, which is all I can ask from the author. I enjoyed Tiberius, as always. He’s such a devilish character and really likes to get under his brother Stoker’s skin. Because this was a house party mystery, there were a lot of fun new characters to get to know as well. It never got boring and the story moved very quickly for me.

This is the eighth book in the series so if you’d like the back stories, start with book #1. If you don’t care and just want a good mystery, go ahead and dig right in. I think you know which side of the line I fall on- the development of the relationships of the characters make this story even more enjoyable for me, so that’s what I’d recommend. Either way, Deanna Raybourn is a great storyteller and I think you’ll enjoy this novel. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* A Sinister Revenge

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.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (3/6/23)

Last week was pretty busy but just like every week I managed to fit in plenty of time to read. I have a ton of book commitments and am trying to read ahead so I can sprinkle in some mood reading. You know, when you pick a book based on your mood. Mine changes pretty often which is why I find myself genre jumping so much. Here’s what I’ve been reading…

JUST FINISHED

Throwback was a very fun, kind of magical, young adult novel about a girl who has a difficult relationship with her mother. She takes a magical taxi ride that dumps her back in high school with her own teenage mom. I really liked this story and how that relationship was center stage.

JUST STARTED

Lucy Score’s newest novel is out and I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. It’s the second novel in the Knockemout series, a small town romance that centers around its sheriff. So far it’s very sweet! Just like the cover.

What books have caught your attention lately?

Have a great Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chicks Audio Review: Why Kill the Innocent (Sebastian St. Cyr #13) by C. S. Harris

It is London, 1814, and Jane Ambrose, music teach to Princess Charlotte, is found dead in a city street. Because of her ties to the royal family, they quickly try to shut down the investigation, but Sebastian St. Cyr and his wife hero refuse to allow the murderer to roam free. As their investigation unwinds it becomes apparent that there are a number of secrets being withheld and suspects who remain free.

I chose to listen to this audiobook after returning from a trip to London. I visited many of the places mentioned in this novel and I will admit that being able to visualize the places really added to my enjoyment of an already very well written and narrated novel. I was excited to learn more about Princess Charlotte who’s tomb I had just seen in the chapel at Windsor Castle. That guide had said that her monument was paid for by the public who loved her, and as Why Kill the Innocent unfolds, while fictional, also held true to her mistreatment by her father the Prince Regent.

From the moment that Jane Ambrose’s body was found, Hero was invested in finding out who could have murdered this gentlewoman. An educated woman with a gift in musical composition, she was held back from achieving accolades for her music just because she was a woman. As the novel unfolds we see how the last few days of Jane’s life held revelations that would make her act contradictorily to her nature leading her down the path to her death. Whenever I read a historical novel that focuses on a woman and her plight I feel so fortunate to have been born later in history but at the same time wished I had been able to fight for those changes to be made. Having a heroine like Hero, who is as modern as they come for this time in history, and see life through her eyes makes it even more real as I really identify with her independent nature. She is integral to Sebastian’s investigations in most of these later novels but especially in Why Kill the Innocent because of its political nature and her father’s involvement as a cousin to the Prince.

I have enjoyed listening to these audiobooks narrated by the esteemed Davina Porter. She is an amazing talent and I enjoy her voicing what sounds like 50- 100 different voices in each novel. I’m sure it’s not that many, but through Sebastian’s investigations he talks to many people, both male and female, accented and unaccented, and from different levels of society. Truly, I’m not sure how she does it but I enjoy listening to her a lot. If you haven’t listened to this narrator, please click on her name on Amazon and try book #1 in this series or Outlander. I promise you will enjoy her voice.

Why Kill the Innocent was a true mystery in that I didn’t guess who killed Jane Ambrose and enjoyed the reveal as it happened within the story. I love seeing the progression of all of the characters from book to book and look forward to seeing where they lead me in the next. If you haven’t read any of these stories, I think you could listen or read this one and enjoy the story, but I really think your experience will elevate if you know the characters as I do from book one. They have come a long way and I’ve enjoyed every moment. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Why Kill the Innocent

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: No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby

Twenty-eight year old Violet Hamilton is perfectly fine remaining unmarried and an old maid. Her father, however, has other ideas introducing Violet to what seems to be the entire population of Hastings. What Violet wants is to find her mother who disappeared 10 years ago without a word. It’s 1896 and detective work is ‘No Life For a Lady’ so she hires a detective, but he begins to uncover things that could threaten Violet’s reputation. The only thing to do is to solve the mystery herself.

When I first started this novel it wasn’t what I was expecting. It took me a little while to get used to the pace of the novel as well as the author’s writing style but as soon as I settled in, I truly enjoyed this quirky novel. Violet is a determined, single minded young woman but she’s also naive and somewhat misguided. She has not had a mother to ask questions about life and her father is unemotional and doesn’t want much to do with Violet because she reminds him of her mother. Although he does seem to want her to marry well, if only to get her out of his house. As Violet finds out things about her mother, it taints her view of the world and men in general. She goes out of her way to dissuade her beau’s from falling for her and is actually quite comical in her excuses to get away. This rather endears her character to me at the same time as making me shrink away in embarrassment for her.

It’s when Violet tries to hire the “other” detective in town that I begin to understand her motives a little bit better. This young woman, without a mother, is trying to find herself. She is a boat without a rudder and is spinning in circles. The only thing she thinks she knows is that she doesn’t want to get married because from what her mother told her it sounds awful. Benjamin, brings some stability to her life. He doesn’t try to hold her back, he in fact helps her with her detective work, giving sound advice and giving her life a little direction. Of course, he’s a man who she must not mislead- so there’s a little misdirection on her part to hold him at a distance.

No Life for a Lady was entertaining once I understood that I wasn’t reading a romance, but a coming of age story- despite the young woman being twenty-eight. It was also a mystery, but the disappearance of her mother tied into why Violet behaved so bizarrely. As a woman in the modern world, it is always interesting to see how women were subjugated and held back. The men in Violet’s life treated her pretty abominably which was why Benjamin was so refreshing. The author was very clever in giving us a lot of disreputable male characters to contrast and cast him in such a good light.

If you decide to read this book, give it a few chapters to find the pace and discover the humor and quirkiness in Violet’s character. She is truly an original and even though this book was pretty light-hearted what she went through made me think about her and women in her situation in the hours following my finishing the book. The mystery was secondary to a story that was entirely character driven but once it was solved it did explain quite a few things about the mystery that was Violet. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!*<a href=”http://<a href=”https://www.amazon.com/No-Life-Lady-Hannah-Dolby-ebook/dp/B0B1S4NSRQ?crid=11SIOQ3G8EDGN&keywords=no+life+for+a+lady&qid=1673894821&s=digital-text&sprefix=No+Life+for+a%2Cdigital-text%2C99&sr=1-2&linkCode=li2&tag=thereadingchi-20&linkId=719f251abc69e0af660d4a43eedc17fd&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_il&#8221; target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0B1S4NSRQ&Format=_SL160_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=thereadingchi-20&language=en_US” ></a>"" No Life for a Lady

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: The Headmaster’s List by Melissa de la Cruz

A high school party that ends in tragedy, one teen dead after a car crashes into a tree. The school is abuzz with rumors that popular, troubled, Ethan was driving recklessly at the wheel that killed one of their own. Spencer Sandoval wishes she could remember that night- also in the accident with her ex, she wakes up in the hospital with a concussion and a broken arm. She tries to get her memories back by investigating what happened that night all while downing pain killers and dealing with PTSD from the crash. With the help of Ethan’s best friend, Spencer navigates the gossip and realities of life while digging through her fragmented memories of that night.

Spencer remembers very little about the night that changed her life, but she does remember that her boyfriend was cheating on her at that party. Which is why she can’t figure out why she’d get in a car with him, along with two other kids that she didn’t know all that well. Fighting PTSD and a new dependency on pain pills, good girl Spencer is struggling to keep up with her grades while also fighting to clear her cheating ex-boyfriend’s name. You heard that right.

I did think it odd that this girl was at that party where she finds her boyfriend cheating yet she is fighting so hard to clear him and has such faith that he wouldn’t have driven recklessly while others were in the car with him. As the facts roll in, her convictions grow stronger that he has been misunderstood. Despite his pleading guilty to the charges. So why does she keep trying to clear him? Melissa de la Cruz writes a dramatic high school mystery that while not very mysterious is pretty thrilling. I enjoyed this glimpse into Spencer’s fractured mind as she tries to piece together the puzzle. The Headmaster’s List was entertaining and easy to read. If you like high school gossip and drama mixed with a little thrill, then this novel may be what you need.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Headmaster’s List

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.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (2/27/23)

Hey guys, happy Monday! If you’re like me, you’ve been reading some great books lately. I’ll admit that the book I just finished was soooo good! I didn’t want to put it down, even for my day job. 🙂

JUST FINISHED

For me, Romantic Comedy checked off all of the right boxes, making this one of my favorite books so far this year. Our heroine is a sketch writer on a show called TNO, think SNL, and our hero was a guest host/musician. The intricacies in this plot, great dialog (so funny!), and throw in some pandemic references, and this book had it all. If you don’t read anything else, read this book!

JUST STARTED

Lucy Score writes really great romance novels and I’m looking forward to digging into the dialog and getting to know these characters. If it’s as good as the first I’ll be delighted!

I hope you have the best Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases – March’23

In looking at the Goodreads book release list for March I’m realizing there are a LOT of genres releasing books and a LOT of them look great. It was difficult choosing but here are my top 5.

#5 BOOK RELEASE

I’m a fan of Lauren Willig’s writing and after reading this synopsis, I’ll admit I’m intrigued- and you know I love a good historical novel!

Synopsis:

September 1896: An aspiring archaeologist, Smith College graduate Betsy Hayes travels to Athens, desperate to break into the male-dominated field of excavation. In the midst of the heat and dust of Greece she finds an unlikely ally in Charles, Baron de Robecourt, one of the few men who takes her academic passion seriously. But when a simmering conflict between Greece and Turkey erupts into open warfare, Betsy throws herself into the conflict as a nurse, not knowing that the decision will change her life forever—and cause a deep and painful rift with her oldest friend, Ava.

June 1898: Betsy has sworn off war nursing—but when she gets the word that her estranged friend Ava is headed to Cuba with Clara Barton and the Red Cross to patch up the wounded in the Spanish-American War, Betsy determines to stop her the only way she knows how: by joining in her place. Battling heat, disease, and her own demons, Betsy follows Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders straight to the heart of the fighting, where she is forced to confront her greatest fears to save both old friends and new….

Set during an electrifying era of nation-building, idealism, and upheaval, Two Wars and a Wedding is the tale of two remarkable women striving to make their place in a man’s world—an unforgettable saga of friendship, love, and fighting for what is right.  

Click this link to purchase this book!* Two Wars and a Wedding

#4 BOOK RELEASE

Marie Lu writes some amazing young adult novels and her characters always seem to connect with her audience. I didn’t realize she had a new book coming out, but after reading the synopsis, I’m totally looking forward to reading it!

Synopsis:

Meet Winter Young – International pop sensation, with a voice like velvet and looks that could kill. His star power has smashed records, selling out stadiums from LA to London. His rabid fans would move heaven and earth for even a glimpse of him – just imagine what they’d do to become his latest fling.

Meet Sydney Cossette – Part of an elite covert ops group, Sydney joined their ranks as their youngest spy with plans to become the best agent they’ve ever had. An ice queen with moves as dangerous as her comebacks, Sydney picks up languages just as quickly as she breaks hearts. She’s fiery, no-nonsense, and has zero time for romance – especially with a shameless flirt more used to serving sass than taking orders.

When a major crime boss gifts his daughter a private concert with Winter for her birthday, Sydney and Winter’s lives suddenly collide. Tasked with infiltrating the crime organization’s inner circle, Sydney is assigned as Winter’s bodyguard with Winter tapped to join her on the mission of a lifetime as a new spy recruit. Sydney may be the only person alive impervious to Winter’s charms, but as their mission brings them closer, she’s forced to admit that there’s more to Winter Young than just a handsome face . . .

Click this link to purchase this book!* Stars and Smoke

#3 BOOK RELEASE

I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader copy of this novel and LOVED it! It’s a really sweet and quirky contemporary romance that has hints of rom-com. You guys, it’s sooo good! You must read this one.

Synopsis: One small town, one big prize, one handsome stranger…

Nothing ever changes in Redford, Georgia. That’s what freelance editor Jess Reid loves about her hometown—and part of what keeps her from leaving. Content taking care of her father, a car mechanic who singlehandedly raised her after her mom skipped out, Jess is resigned to a safe, unremarkable existence…until Jasper Wilhelm, the town’s eccentric benefactor, dies suddenly and leaves behind the opportunity of a lifetime.

Financial advisor Carter Barclay has been too busy to visit his grandfather in Redford, but he’s heard countless stories about the town and its zany residents from Jasper. A small, insular town in Georgia is the last place Carter expects to be spending his summer—but it seems his grandfather had one final trick up his sleeve. 

At the funeral, it’s revealed that Jasper has devised a massive, high-stakes game for the people of Redford, with the winning duo taking home his entire fortune. The catch? He’s already taken the liberty of pairing them up. As tensions of all kinds rise between Jess and Carter, and the life-changing prize looms closer, the two must decide what they’re willing to risk to change their lives. A love story full of spirit and hijinks, The Only Game in Town is a funny, quirky homage to the people we get to call home.

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Only Game in Town

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase any of these books through the above links, I’ll receive a small stipend.

#2 BOOK RELEASE

This is book #8 in the series featuring Veronica and her companion Stoker. I have loved how their relationship has evolved into romantic partners while still keeping true to their own interests and sleuthing. This is a fun story! (yes, I’ve read this one too)

Synopsis: Veronica’s natural-historian beau, Stoker, has been away in Bavaria for months and their relationship is at an impasse. But when Veronica shows up before him with his brother, Tiberius, Lord Templeton-Vane, he is lured back home by an intriguing job offer: preparing an iguanodon for a very special dinner party.
 
Tiberius has received a cryptic message—along with the obituaries of two recently deceased members of his old group of friends, the Seven Sinners—that he too should get his affairs in order. Realizing he is in grave danger but not knowing why, he plans a reunion party for the remaining Sinners at his family estate to lure the killer out while Veronica and Stoker investigate.
 
As the guests arrive and settle in, the evening’s events turn deadly. More clues come to light, leading Veronica, Stoker, and Tiberius to uncover a shared past among the Sinners that has led to the fatal present. But the truth might be far more sinister than what they were prepared for.

Click this link to purchase this book!* A Sinister Revenge

MY MOST ANTICIPATED MARCH’23 BOOK RELEASE

Lynn Painter is such a talented writer. The Love Wager is the second book in the series and these characters were adorable! Another must read novel on my list!

Synopsis: Hallie Piper is turning over a new leaf. After belly-crawling out of a hotel room (hello, rock bottom), she decides it’s time to become a full-on adult. She gets a new apartment, a new haircut, and a new wardrobe, but when she logs onto the dating app that she has determined will find her new love, she sees none other than Jack, the guy whose room she snuck out of. 

After agreeing they are absolutely not interested in each other, Jack and Hallie realize they’re each other’s perfect wing-person in their searches for The One. They text each other about their dates, often scheduling them at the same restaurant so that if things don’t go well, the two of them can get tacos afterward. 

Spoiler: they get a lot of tacos together. 

Discouraged by the lack of prospects, Jack and Hallie make a wager to see who can find true love first, but when they agree to be fake dates for a weekend wedding, all bets are off. As they pretend to be a couple, lines become blurred and they both struggle to remember why the other was a bad idea to begin with.

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Love Wager

Isn’t this a great list of book releases? I’ve read a few and am looking forward to finishing out my top 5.

Happy Reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: Desperate Acts (Pike, Wisconsin #4) by Alexandra Ivy

As a teen, Lia Porter sees a woman running in terror in the woods then jumping off a bridge in the middle of the night. She searched briefly but never found her and forgets the incident until fifteen years later when a woman’s body is found. Nobody wants to hear her story until Kaden Vaughn shows up in town searching for his brothers fianceé who also disappeared at that time. After they each receives threats they join forces to investigate this cold case that nobody wants re-opened.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read an Alexandra Ivy novel and I’d forgotten how quickly she ropes you into the story. We get to know Lia first, and I found her fascinating. On the surface she looks like she owns a rundown market in this small town of Pike, but as the novel goes on we find out that she’s actually an investor with resources that allow her to run this store and stay a part of this community, not needing to make a lot of money. When Kaden Vaughn shows up, he’s immediately recognized for his TV show, but there’s a determination to find this woman that’s a contrast to his Hollywood good looks and persona. I liked how these two connected not only on the surface level, but they both also cared about finding out the truth and that truth was really interesting.

I don’t want to give away any of the mystery but I do want to say that boy, there is a lot of action packed into this novel. I feel like every chapter had a moment that propelled the story forward as well as gave back story that made me care about these two main characters and this small town. It held my interest, which nowadays seems quite the feat! There are too many distractions and if a book doesn’t grab me I tend to give up. Not this one!

Desperate Acts was a quick moving, easy read. Perfect if you’re going on a short vacation or have a weekend where you can relax on the couch and sink into the story. I have read mysteries that are more detailed but I tend to like quick moving over descriptions and that’s what I got in Desperate Acts. The perfect read at the right time for me! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Desperate Acts

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: Murder at Haven’s Rock (Haven’s Rock #1) by Kelley Armstrong

If you were worried that the Casey Duncan series was finished you can rest easy. Haven’s Rock is the spin-off where Casey, Eric, and their close group of friends build their own version of Rockton. A version where they are in charge and can pick the people that live in their community. This novel opens with Haven’s Rock under construction and a couple of their construction members go missing. Casey and Eric are flown in to investigate. They don’t yet live there and are excited to see their town come to life, but missing people doesn’t seem to be the best omen to start fresh. When they discover a body that looks to be a homicide they decide to investigate her death, plus they still have the missing to recover.

I love these novels. They are the perfect mix of eeriness and comfort. That sounds weird but I feel like I know these characters so well that it’s easy to just slide back into their story, despite the mystery being new. Murder at Haven’s Rock is a new location, yet not too far away from Rockton so the landscape they are tromping through (or investigating) is very familiar. What is inside these woods are not. So there is an element of surprise that maybe the previous series had lost. I liked not knowing what was in the woods beyond a bear or two. It made me pay a bit more attention to the text not wanting to miss a nuance. That added to my reading experience and helped in creating that sense of eeriness and comfort.

Familiar characters, with a few new ones thrown in also meant I was kept on my toes. I didn’t know everything so there were surprises within the town as well. I really enjoyed the quirkiness of a couple of these characters and am looking forward to seeing where their future lies. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Haven’s Rock will be different than Rockton. Will it be Shangri La? My guess is that there will continue to be mysteries to look forward to in their new Haven.

If you have not read the Casey Duncan series you may miss some nuances to the story but should be ok starting fresh with Murder at Haven’s Rock. Either way you’re in for a great mystery and a fun weekend of reading. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Murder at Haven’s Rock

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.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (2/20/23)

Have any of you tried out Kindle Vella yet? I’ll admit that I’m not sure how I feel about it yet and think I might actually spend more money buying these tokens to read episodes than I would purchasing an entire kindle book. However, I did get totally hooked on this one episodic teen novel, which I’ll tell you about below. So, I guess using the word “hooked” does mean that the format is working. But for me, it will never take the place of purchasing and reading a book all in one go.

JUST FINISHED

Covert Hearts is the novel that I found on Kindle Vella and spent my Saturday reading. It’s a young adult serial, that has some great characters. Each episode, which are chapters, ended in a cliffhanger that just kept me going. There are three books in the series, and the episodes are typically released one week at a time. Or however often the author wants to release them. There are two books released and I’ll admit, they were a lot of fun to read! If you happen to give it a try I’d be interested to know what you think about Kindle Vella.

JUST STARTED

I just started this audiobook by Penny Reid and am really enjoying the story and narration. This series are written kind of like cozy mysteries, but with characters that started off in romance novels. It’s a lot of fun and pretty easy to follow in an audiobook while I’m driving or (at work, shhhh!).

Have you book hooked by a story this past week? Share the title here!

Have a great Monday and happy reading!

Deb