Claire O’Connor’s back in Juniper Falls because of an all hands on deck family emergency. Helping get her family’s restaurant and sports bar back on solid footing after her father’s stroke is more important than being at school. Tate Tanley was her best friend’s little brother and when she catches sight of him she wonders where that little boy that she shared a secret with the night before she went to school went. Now he’s the goalie of their high school hockey team and all grown up and that secret brings them back together.
I recently read the third book in this series, On Thin Ice, when I got an ARC through NetGalley and was rewarded by reading a really good story! I immediately went to my local library to take a look at the other books in the series. Off the Ice is the first and it also didn’t disappoint. These characters are dealing with so much more than a high school romance. The stories are packed with emotional plots and Off the Ice’s is another doozy.
There were so many things I liked about Clair and Tate. Even though Claire always dreamed of a life outside of her small town of Juniper Falls, her family was the most important thing in her life and she dropped following her dreams to come home and help out when her father grew ill. I did struggle a little bit with her waffling over whether she should give Tate a chance but then we’d have lost a little bit of the tension that kept the story moving forward. Tate was a fabulous character. He was dealing with a dud of a father, pressure as the new goalie on the team, and a recent break up with his long time girlfriend. He was singleminded in his pursuit of both Claire and his game that you couldn’t help but admire how he was dealing with all of this pressure. I really liked how he helped Claire see her future both at school but also with him. They were well matched.
I love contemporary novels with a hint of romance that revolve around sports. Especially if they are actually playing the game! This novel had quite a bit of hockey being played which made it even more enjoyable to me. If that’s not your thing, I think you’ll really appreciate how these characters grow and become each others anchor through some of the crappy things that are happening in their lives. Either way, it’s a book to enjoy and I’ll be reaching for the second in the series next. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Molly Sullivan has had the strangest things happening lately. Lights have been fizzling out, her car keeps breaking down, and when she’s angry she see’s little white sparks in her vision. That last gets tested when she finds out her husband has cheated on her… again. When she confronts him, she let’s her anger take reign and her power manifests. Josiah Mason, local DA and a powerful witch in his own right, witnesses this manifestation and offers his help to Molly, which she begrudgingly takes. When she finds something hinky in her husbands finances she turns to Josiah for help.
American Witch is set in the world of the Elder demesne and Thea Harrison’s previous series the Elder Races. Being totally familiar with this realm, I eagerly anticipated reading this novel. I liked Molly’s character a lot. She is getting out of marriage that ends up having a few more surprises than her own manifesting magic. The mystery of her marriage and what her husband was up to was interesting, but I’ll admit that I was disappointed in the lack of focus on Molly’s magic. If I learned that I was turning into a witch and had this amazing power I would have wanted to know everything about it! I thought she was a little disinterested in the beginning and that made it hard for me to connect with her character.
Josiah Mason is driven by revenge. Not the best attribute of a leading male but he could’ve overcome that flaw if he had been a little more empathetic towards Molly. I didn’t believe their connection and didn’t really like how long and more importantly why it took him so long to put her first. Thea Harrison is a great storyteller but I thought she should have pulled the trigger on his emotions a little sooner when it came to his feelings for Molly.
I fought against my ambivalence and really wanted to love this book. I didn’t hate it at all, but thought it could’ve been so much better with only a few tweaks. It’s because of this that I’m giving this novel a 3.5 rating. ❤️❤️❤️❣️
I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Spring is here, the flowers are blooming and even though today was 50° and I am wearing a sweater you can tell by the smiles on everyone’s faces that winter is over. Unless you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then Winter is Coming. I couldn’t resist, sorry!
For those of us who celebrate this time of year for religious reasons, may you have a blessed holiday!
For those of us who are looking forward to seeing what kind of candy is in our Easter baskets… what number from the graphic below is your favorite Easter candy? Feel free to share your favorite from your own country if these aren’t familiar!
I am a Cadbury mini eggs gal myself!
May your Easter basket be filled with the blessings of your season, and chocolate! Happy Easter from the Reading Chick!
Actress Freddy Carlton has been cast in a live action televised production of The Austen Playbook. A theatrical mash-up consisting of Jane Austen characters and a who dunnit a la the game Clue. Think Emma murdered Mr. Darcy in the library with a candlestick. The live television audience gets to pick how the play will be “played” out. Excited to spend what she thought would be a quiet few weeks on a country estate turns into a stressful production and an investigation that turns very personal.
Lucy Parker once again strikes gold with The Austen Playbook. Freddy Carlton is all grown up from the young ingenue we’ve met in previous novels and when she matches wit’s with curmudgeonly J. Ford-Griffin, theater critic and owner of the country estate where the Austen Playbook will be televised, the pages alight with sassy dialog filled with wit, humor and sexual energy. Their back stories of her grandmother and his grandfather having a grand affair ties them together in a unique way, also adding tension to their investigation of their grandparents romance.
As with the other books in this series, Lucy Parker’s setting of a West End play is completely enjoyable and I loved how the country setting added a different spin to the first two novels in the series. Griff was a little reminiscent in temperament of both Luc Savage and Richard Troy from books one and two, but I’ll admit that I love a curmudgeon who finds love and found Griff just as charming. Freddy’s uplifting and adorable personality make it hard for him to resist and their fall into love is irresistible.
There is plenty of story to go along with the love in this novel. The cast of characters are full of hijinks and Freddy and Griff’s own family provide plenty of dysfunction for our lovebirds to unite together against. This series has quickly become one of my favorite’s and this author is now on my auto-buy list! If you haven’t had a chance to read them, they can each be read as a stand alone, but past characters do pop up here and there and it’s fun to know their back story when they do. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️
I received a free copy of the ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“This book is a mixture of drama, swoon romance and great friendships (and relationships in general) that are not perfect but complicated in a way that we can all relate to. ” Ravings of a Book Lover
“…the dialogue was en pointe, the characters were varied and entertaining, the story developed consistently. I was drawn into their world completely. It was so vivid. This is a series I recommend again and again.” I Love Romantic Fiction
The Knitting in the City series by Penny Reid follows a group of friends in Chicago who have formed a knitting group. They meet every Tuesday to drink, laugh and talk about each others lives, often solving problems and giving great advice (and sometimes not so great…). Love Hacked is Sandra’s story. In this group Sandra is always the level head, picking through everyone’s thoughts to find what drives them. Sandra is also trying to find love. Every other Friday she meets a new man at her favorite Indian restaurant hoping this guy will be the one and every Friday she is disappointed. Until one Friday after her latest date leaves in tears her waiter, Alex, sits down at her table.
Every time I read a Penny Reid novel I say to myself, this is my favorite novel of hers! Well, yes, this is my favorite novel to date. I’ve read every Winston Brothers novel (including Ashleys story which falls after this one in the Knitting series and is a prequel to the Winston series) and am making my way through this series, with luckily a ton of other books to mine of Penny Reid’s. They are all great books so why do I connect so much with Sandra and Alex’s story? I think all women have put themselves in Sandra’s shoes. At one point or another we’ve all wanted to find that special man that we’d live the rest of our lives with, hopefully fulfilled and loved. Of course, I didn’t have her talent for getting men to reveal their inner soul and leave the table in tears, (which was hilarious while at the same time kind of sad), but I could certainly put on those I want to be loved shoes. Really, it was her interaction with Alex that walked me over the line into loving this book so much.
Alex was an enigma wrapped in a conundrum and completely fascinating. His interactions with Sandra weren’t your normal interactions between a man and a woman who were attracted to each other. Sandra may have been the psychotherapist, but Alex was doing his own analysis of Sandra right back but at the same time throwing up walls to protect himself. Watching them tear down each others walls while coming to care for each other in a totally unique way was enthralling, gripping, and heart wrenching. And I ATE IT UP.
Needless to say, I loved this novel. I had picked it up so many times and put it down. I’m not sure why and am kicking myself for not enjoying their story before now. However, sometimes those novels that surprise you with their strength and your emotional impact to them are read when you need to read them. This was the perfect time for me. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
As a book blogger it’s hard not to pay attention to the blogosphere drumroll of upcoming book releases. We all have our favorites authors and certainly whenever one of those authors releases a book I am ALL OVER IT. There are a few books that have May’19 release dates and I am eagerly rubbing my hands in anticipation…
We all have genre’s that we favor but I think a couple of these title’s may be on your own most anticipated list. If they aren’t? Well, sorry if I’ve added another book to your TBR!
MY MOST ANTICIPATED MAY’19 BOOKS ARE….
5) The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May14, 2019
For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.
Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.
Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.
Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.
With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: I haven’t read a Christina Lauren novel in a few years, but this enemies to lovers tropes is one of my favorites! This is why it’s #5 and a must read for me.
4) Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling authors of the Illuminae Filescomes a new science fiction epic . . .
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder An alien warrior with anger-management issues A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: I LOVED the Illuminae Files and want to see if Kaufman and Kristoff can repeat that amazing energy and excitement. Who’s going to join me?
3) The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang
Release Date: May 7, 2019
From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart…
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: I’ll admit to having mixed feelings for the Kiss Quotient. I didn’t love it, but am curious to see how Helen Hoang will handle the follow up.
Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!
A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.
It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.
With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.
Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: I love the magical world of Caraval and am curious if this author can keep this magic flowing through the Finale.
#1 Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Urban Fantasy
In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves…
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.
And a coyote shapeshifter.
And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.
Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.
The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.
But we are pack, and we have given our word.
We will die to keep it.
DEB’S THOUGHTS: Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite (in a very long list of favorites!) urban fantasy heroines. Her character growth over the lifetime of this series has been huge and her challenges just keep getting bigger. This is the next book I’m starting (yes, I got an ARC!) and I can’t wait to read how she will overcome her next challenge!
Birdie Lindberg is a quirky eighteen year old, by day aspiring private detective and by night front desk clerk at an old historic hotel. Home schooled and raised by her grandparents on an island off the coast of Seattle she has led a pretty sheltered life. One night after a job interview she meets Daniel Aoki, aspiring magician and overall nice guy at her favorite diner. Their instant connection turns into a flirtation that ends as a tryst in the back seat of his car. Horribly embarassed, Birdie runs off hoping to never see him again. Little does she know that she would soon be working the night shift alongside Daniel, and that they’d investigate a mystery that would bring them close once again.
I loved the quirkiness of this novel! Our heroine, Birdie is sweet, but also socially awkward yet her innocence and naiveté are so charming the reader can’t help but be drawn to her. She is the first character I can recall reading who has narcolepsy and it’s fascinating to read how she deals with that secret. Daniel is also adorably quirky with his magic tricks and wry smile giving us clues that all may not be as they appear on his surface. They have an old world feeling that fits right in with the Sam Spade type mystery they are trying to solve. As a side note the other characters in this book were just as charming and added to the overall feel of the story.
Hidden beneath their colorful exterior are some serious subjects. Birdie’s secret narcolepsy is one, but Daniel also has his own dark background. The reveal is quite a pivotal scene in the book and I don’t want to spoil the story but just as in the land of OZ there is a lot hidden behind that magic curtain and not all of it is fun and games. I love how this author led up to the conflict really making the reader care for this characters yet didn’t lose any of the curiosity’s that make the book so special.
I loved Starry Eyes, also by Jenn Bennett, and somehow missed reading Alex, Approximately when it came out. After reading Serious Moonlight I’ve reminded myself why I love Jenn Bennett’s books and will be fixing that error asap! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I received a free copy of the ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“There truly is something a little magic about this book. It just glows and I loved every minute of it. From the all-too-real confusion and embarrassment Birdie feels as she navigates her relationship with Daniel, to the hilarious moments between family (Birdie’s aunt and grandfather are amazing and I loved Daniel’s family). And can I just say that card trick Daniel does???? Whew. Be still my beating heart.” Madison’s Library
“Overall, I enjoyed Serious Moonlight. While there were a lot of heavier topics to deal with, at it’s heart it was a cute contemporary romance that I shipped. I really liked Birdie and Daniel together. There were many cute moments between them, including one of the coolest first date experiences I’ve ever heard of. I think fans of more serious YA contemporaries will enjoy it.” Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Trix Lane, circus acrobat extraordinaire, has put her bad relationship in her past and is focused on giving the best high wire performance on the West End. When the leading lady has a bad fall, Trix is thrust into the spotlight at the same time as her old nemesis Leo Magasiva is hired as the makeup artist for her troupe. She and Leo grew up together and were once friendly, but that tension has long since turned into antagonism. Can they get past their hate for each other? Of course!
We saw a bit of Trix’s bad relationship in Pretty Face, as Dan, her ex, showed off his mean streak to Lily on her opening night. Trix’s self confidence took a beating and she is not ready to start a relationship and build that trust with someone else. She and Leo’s relationship takes a turn for the better but the actions of her past still dictate her future. I liked Trix a lot and especially liked the inside look at circus acrobatics. I grew a little tired of her insecurity and fear. For me, it went on for just a touch too long.
Leo was also introduced in the previous book as Lily’s make up artist, turning her into Queen Elizabeth in the play she was in. Mostly quiet, it was his looks that jumped off the page. I was glad to see the man beneath the exterior come to life in Making Up. If I had a choice between our two main characters, Leo was definitely my favorite of the two. He has also gone through some tough times, but he rose above his circumstances, or is trying to, and while he strives to over achieve his professional goals he does this with confidence and even a little bit of humility. He was just a little bit more likable than Trix.
This is my least favorite book in this series but that’s only because the first two were so fabulous! It would be hard to keep that high of an average. I did really like the change in scenery to a circus rather than a play again, but enjoyed the glimpse we were given into the lives of previous characters I’d grown to really like. I think when I read this one again, I’ll like it more than I did this time. I started it immediately upon finishing Pretty Face, which was my favorite in the series. I think it couldn’t help but lack a little in comparison.
I highly recommend this series if you are looking for a new voice in contemporary romance. It’s a fun setting, the characters have a ton of depth and show a lot of growth, and the romance is spot on. I’m still obsessed with this author and can’t wait for the next book to release in April. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogsphere
“For fun, sexy romantic comedies I highly recommend all the books in this series, and can’t wait to see what other romances Ms. Parker has up her sleeve!” Harlequin Junkie
“Making Up has easily become one of my favorite reads for this year and I swear the book gods heard all of our pleas because this series is not over yet! I can’t wait to see what story Lucy Parker brings to the West End world next and hopefully we get a chance to catch up with some of my favorite West End performers in the books to come.” The Romance Corner
Kacey Dawson is on her way to fame as the lead guitarist in a rock band, she seems to have it all so why does she have to get totally wasted to get through the night? After once again drinking to the point of passing out, Kacey wakes up on the couch of Jonah Fletcher, her limo driver. Jonah can see that Kacey needs a place to get away and dry out and he offers her his place to stay in until she has to leave for her next stop on the tour. Surprisingly, she takes him up on it and they begin an unlikely friendship, finding something in the other that brings their hearts to life.
I have never read a novel by Emma Scott, but after reading Full Tilt I know I will definitely be looking through her backlog for my next fix. Full Tilt was heavy, dark, desperate, uplifting, sad, and joyous. By the third chapter I was all in and I think I must’ve gone through a box of Kleenex while rooting for this couple to overcome the odds.
I wasn’t so sure about Kacey at first. She’d had a hard life, found herself in a sweet spot with fame and then wasn’t happy with what that got her. She seemed to be a typical rock chick, at first. Jonah was a little tougher to undertand. He’d shut himself off from everyone but his immediate family and a couple of friends, to protect himself, but to also protect others because he was terminally ill. By doing this he took all of the color out of his own life, which is funny because he was an artist who was building a glass installation full of color and imagery. Kacey was anything but colorless and she filled his life with the technicolor of love. He and Kacey’s unlikely friendship turned into a soul changing love story. Not just theirs, but mine too as I read their story. It was heart lifting and heart breaking at the same time.
This is a novel that you just need to throw yourself into. I had put it on my Kindle quite a few months ago after reading a review that made me curious. Other than that Kacey was a rock star who was on the rocks, I didn’t remember the plot and I’m glad I went into this one blind. Take my word for it. Get this novel. Don’t read the synopsis, just pick it up and take yourself on a journey. It will be heart breaking and yes, you’ll ugly cry, but it will also remind you what love is all about. That’s why we read romance novels, right? ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“Full Tilt is more than the story of two people. It’s the story of Kacey, Jonah, his family and friends, Vegas, hope, loss, art, talent, but ultimately it’s about love. The love we have for family, the love we share with friends and the love we leave behind.” Reading, Writing and Ramblings
“In the middle of the rubble I found that, actually, Kacey is one of my favorite heroines. Her addiction made me feel deeply sorry for her instead of frustrated with her decisions. And then there is freaking Jonah. He’s just as amazing as his name. Seriously. I can’t even with how much I adored him — right from the beginning.” In Love and Words