This Chick Read: Wild Fire and Wild Wind (Chaos #6.5 and #6.6) by Kristen Ashley

Wild Fire and Wild Wind are both novellas released under the 1001 Dark Nights umbrella. I’ve read a few other authors 1001 Dark Nights novellas and I will say that Kristen Ashley delivers the most complete story arc’s in her novellas leaving the reader satisfied as if they’d read an entire story. In fact, in Kristen Ashley’s case, I actually prefer a more succinct story as her longer novels sometimes get too wrapped up in descriptions of outfits and rooms on the way to finally telling the story. These two stories were short, but wrapped up the storyline of their father who died long ago. A father who was much loved by his Chaos MC brothers, leaving a legacy behind that both boys, now men have had to live up to. These two brothers, Dutch and Jaggar, have dealt with the death of their father in different ways and through meeting their ladies finally are able to deal with his death and his legacy as a Chaos MC brother.

WILD FIRE

Part of the legacy their father left behind was his love for his wife, Keely, and how he set eyes on her and she him and the rest was history. They were together from that moment on. Dutch follows in his fathers footsteps. Despite Georgie’s bad attitude when they first meet he’s undeniably drawn to her and once she drops that attitude he finds her kookiness “cute”. I wish I could say that I found her kookiness cute too, but unfortunately it wore a little thin for me. At first it was different, but as I kept reading I just couldn’t see why, other than their looks, these two totally different types of characters would be drawn to each other. I did like how she helped him deal with the emotions from his father’s legacy, so that redeemed her a small bit.

I did enjoy the story. Dutch was trying to help a troubled kid deal with the murder of his father. In true KA style, she brings in a bunch of characters from other novels to help. Of course, the Chaos MC brothers, his step-father Hound, but also Eddie and Hank from the Rock Chick series. I enjoyed how everyone rallied and that story arc was completed. One other thing that I loved about this novel is that it was more story than love scenes. In the past couple of years you never knew what kind of KA novel you were going to get. Hard core love scenes or a novel with a great story. In this novella you get more of the second than the first. I applaud that choice! ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Jaggar is the younger brother of Dutch, and his story feels different than his brothers. He, too has lived with the legacy of his father but he was just a tot when his father died and doesn’t remember him at all and had dealt with those emotions in a different way. He is a party guy, not taking anything seriously and running through women indiscriminately. However, he has a much deeper back story to his romance with the heroine, Archie that gives his story more gravitas.

A teenage Jaggar was visiting his father’s grave when he see’s a funeral going on at a grave nearby. He notices the teenage girl sitting in front of the grave and their eyes connect. He leaves a note on the headstone letting her know that although she is sad now, that things will get better, life will move forward. Over the next 10 years they connect briefly until they get to now when he see’s her chasing down the street after a young kid and decides to help out. He decides the timing is right for the two of them, but she is done. She feels betrayed that he’s stayed away over the years and that the promise in his note wasn’t kept. Archie is why this story is so good and as it goes on you want to know her even more. Unlike Georgie, Archie is serious and seriously cool.

The story arc in Wild Wind is focused around Archie and the kids she supports. These are latch-key kids who don’t have anywhere to go for a few hours before their parents get home. There is one kid in particular that Jaggar is drawn to, and he moves in to help when he realizes this kid is in trouble. Through helping him, he is able to deal with his feelings over his fathers death and with Archie’s help breaks through the emotional roadblock he has put up to avoid those feelings. For me, this was handled well and it helped me connect with Jaggar and Archie much more so than the story in Wild Fire did for Dutch and Georgie.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

If you have read these Chaos MC novels and know the story of John Black, how he died, and how that death affected the Chaos characters, I think you’ll enjoy these novellas. They feel very different than each other which is good because Jaggar and Dutch despite being brothers are nothing alike. Neither are Georgie and Archie. I did enjoy one book more than the other but I do think both of these were good solid stories and the romances made sense for the characters.

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: To Love and to Loathe (The Regency Vows #2) by Martha Waters

Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, the Marquess of Willingham have known each other forever. He’s a school friend of her brother’s and has been tormenting her for years. Their constant bickering hiding a mutual attraction that neither has acted on since Jeremy’s half-hearted proposal during her first season. Diana, turned him down and married not long after. Now that she is widowed his quick wit and biting sarcasm and directed her way again. One day Jeremy calls on her at an indecent hour and proposes a union of a different sort. He has recently ended a relationship with another lady who gave him bad reviews and he wants to ease his mind by having a brief affair with Diana during his two week house party, knowing she’ll tell him the truth. Having her own motives, Diana agree’s and finds that she might feel more than she bargained for.

I will admit that I wasn’t a big fan of this author’s first novel in this series, To Have and to Hoax. I am, however, thankful for having read it because her friends, including Violet the heroine from that novel, are again a big part of the plot in To Love and to Loathe. Unlike the fake illness Violet undertook to reel her husband back into their marriage, in this story Diana, is carrying on an affair while trying to win a bet by marrying him off before the year is done. You know how that’s going to turn out! I did really like the sense of humor written into these characters. They were a lot more fun to read about and I found myself a little bit more invested in the outcome. Of course, I wasn’t afraid the book would end without their falling in love, but the story was engaging and the antics of the house guests kept me turning the pages.

One of the more interesting side notes to this story were the societal mores that the ladies and gents of this time lived. Jeremy was known as a cad for all of his affairs. As a Marquess, and even in his younger days, the son of a Marquess, things came easily to him. Women threw themselves at him and when he was rated poorly by his previous lady love it was Diana who pointed out that women may have been faking it all along just because of who and what he was. An opinion that was eye opening and fun to read. Diana, as a widow could reveal to someone that she might be willing to have a liaison and in fact hoped that having one with Jeremy would go towards helping her gain more experience in that endeavor. However, if she became talked about then despite her being a “Lady” her reputation wouldn’t recover. It wasn’t a huge part of the story but a scene that stuck with me.

I wouldn’t call this novel a historical romance rom-com but it was more spirited than I expected and I did laugh a couple of times. If you are looking for a historical romance with a small twist give this one a try. I think you can read it without reading the previous novel so never fear! Purchase away! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I receive a copy of this novel through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* To Love and to Loathe: A Novel (2) (The Regency Vows)

Copyright 2021 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’s Wednesday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- April’21

I’m a little late and didn’t get this post out last weekend as planned. Then I got caught up reading all of the synopsis of all these great books that are coming out in April. It was hard to choose! So, it’s Wednesday instead of Sunday, but it’s still March! Well, at least it is here in the US. These are my Top 5 picks for our April book releases.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I don’t usually go with the slightly spooky stories, but this seems like there’s an element of fantasy that is drawing me to it! Check out this synopsis and let me know what you think.

Synopsis:

A dark, twisty modern fairytale where three sisters discover they are not exactly all that they seem and evil things really do go bump in the night.

Iris Hollow and her two older sisters are unquestionably strange. Ever since they disappeared on a suburban street in Scotland as children only to return a month a later with no memory of what happened to them, odd, eerie occurrences seem to follow in their wake. And they’re changing. First, their dark hair turned white. Then, their blue eyes slowly turned black. They have insatiable appetites yet never gain weight. People find them disturbingly intoxicating, unbearably beautiful, and inexplicably dangerous.

But now, 10 years later, 17-year-old Iris Hollow is doing all she can to fit in and graduate high school on time – something her two famously glamourous globe-trotting older sisters, Grey and Vivi, never managed to do. But when Grey goes missing without a trace, leaving behind bizarre clues as to what might have happened, Iris and Vivi are left to trace her last few days. They aren’t the only ones looking for her though. As they brush against the supernatural they realize that the story they’ve been told about their past is unraveling and the world that returned them seemingly unharmed 10 years ago, might just be calling them home. 

Click this link to purchase!* House of Hollow

#4 MOST ANITICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I like a good opposite’s attract novel and again, this synopsis sounds interesting.

Synopsis:  When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn’t expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn’t just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn’t want to take anything for granted. But after her half sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from “daily adventure” to “next-level bad” (now with bonus baby vomit in hair). The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she’d be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua. Now she’s feeling things she’s vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see. 

Click this link to purchase!* Life’s Too Short (Friend Zone)

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I received an early copy of this novel and really thought it was cute! It’s a historical rom-com and our protagonists witty dialog carried the novel.

Synopsis:

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

Click this link to purchase!* To Love and to Loathe: A Novel (2) (The Regency Vows)

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

Again, the synopsis of this novel drew me in. The cover looks like a romance, which it is, but it’s also a mystery. This one looks intriguing.

Synopsis:

The straphangers of Ealing Broadway station are familiar with Mary O’Connor, the woman who appears every day to watch the droves of busy commuters. But Mary never asks anything from anyone. She only holds out a sign bearing a heartrending message: Come Home Jim.

While others pass her by without a thought, Alice, a junior reporter at the Ealing Bugle, asks Mary to tell her story. Many years ago, Mary met the charming and romantic Jim Whitnell. She was certain she’d found her other half, until one day he vanished without any explanation. But Mary believes that Jim isn’t a cad, that he truly loved her and will return—especially because she’s recently received grainy phone calls from him saying he misses her.

Touched but also suspicious, Alice quietly begins her own investigation into Jim’s disappearance, unraveling a decade-long story filled with desire, heartbreak, and hope. With Greaves’s signature warmth and charm, Anywhere for You is a romantic and immensely moving novel about the enduring power of love and finding happiness in unexpected places.

Click this link to purchase!* Anywhere for You: A Novel

MOST ANTICIPATED APRIL BOOK RELEASE

The Hating Game was such a great book, but I really didn’t like 99 Percent Mine. I am giving this author the benefit of the doubt placing Second First Impressions in the #1 spot based on the synopsis and my hope that she delivers another great novel. Fingers Crossed!

Synopsis:

Dazzle (n): Brightness that blinds someone temporarily.

Position Vacant: Two ancient old women residing at Providence Retirement Villa seek male assistant for casual exploitation and good-natured humiliation. Duties include boutique shopping, fast-food fetching, and sincerely rendered flattery. Good looks a bonus—but we aren’t picky. 

An advertisement has been placed (again!) by the wealthy and eccentric Parloni Sisters. The salary is generous and the employers are 90 years old, so how hard could the job be? Well, none have lasted longer than a week. Most boys leave in tears. 

Ruthie Midona will work in Providence’s front office, and be at the Parloni’s beck and call, forever. That’s sort of her life plan. If Ruthie can run the place in her almost-retired bosses’ absence, with no hijinks/hiccups, she has a shot at becoming the new manager. She might also be able to defend her safe little world from Prescott Development, the new buyer of the prime site. Maybe after all that, she can find a cute guy to date. All she needs to do is stay serious—and that’s what she does best. 

Until, one day, someone dazzling blows in to town. 

Teddy Prescott devotes his life to sleeping, tattooing, and avoiding seriousness. When Teddy needs a place to crash, he makes a deal with his developer dad. Teddy can stay in one of Providence’s on-site maintenance cottages—right next door to an unimpressed Ruthie—but only if he works there and starts to grow up.

Ruthie knows how this sweetly selfish rich boy can earn his keep—and be out of her hair in under a week. After all, there is a position vacant…

Click this link to purchase!* Second First Impressions: A Novel

I say this every month but it bears repeating. My top 5 may not be your top 5 books but I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to reading. Please feel free to share in the comments. If I happened to hit on one you are also looking forward to? Let’s chat! I love talking good books.

Until next month.

Deb

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

This Chick Read: Marriage on Madison Avenue (The Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren Layne

Audrey Tate and Clarke West have been best friends since they were kids. They’ve watched been the third wheel in each other’s romances and despite two fake engagements have never had a romantic entanglement. When Clarke’s mom starts to matchmake again and tries to set him up with an ex-girlfriend he turns to Audrey for help again asking for fake engagement #3. However, this time they have to fake a few kisses and the engagement goes on longer than it ever has before. Audrey starts to see Clarke differently and those feelings are returned. How can they go back to being best friends after these feelings have been released?

The third novel in The Central Park Pact, Audrey was for me, the least interesting out of the three friends who made a pact to save each other when they were headed for trouble with the wrong man. She always seemed a little flighty but in this novel I got to see that she had a little more depth than I’d given her credit. She is a social influencer and has a huge following. When she is attacked online for her most recent break-up she agree’s to Clarke’s fake engagement to help her get this blogger off her back. What she doesn’t count on is her followers going gaga over her bridal posts. She gets caught up in the fun, trying on dresses and eating cake and lets the lie propagate. All while starting to have feelings for her best friend. These feelings aren’t one-sided Clarke is also starting to see her as a beautiful woman, not just his beautiful friend.

This was the least surprising book of the three in The Central Park Pact series. Audrey and Clarke were totally likable and their friendship was always on solid ground. There weren’t any hidden feelings and insecurities that they had to work through they just had to decide do we or don’t we? I enjoyed following along on their marriage preparations but would have liked a little more conflict, but it was an enjoyable read.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Marriage on Madison Avenue (3) (The Central Park Pact)

Copyright 2021 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: Still Standing (Wild West MC #1) by Kristen Ashley

Clara was married to who she thought of as the man of her dreams when the rug was pulled out from under her. He was arrested for embezzling life savings from the elderly to pay for her home and in a gated community and the Mercedes she drove. Duped by her husband and castigated by the general public, Clara retreated to a slum-like apartment trusting only her childhood friend. Except for that friend was married to a low-level gangster. Good intentions went bad when Clara agree’s to run errands for her friend’s husband, bringing her to the attention of some rather unsavory low-life’s. Which is how she meets Buck, President of the Aces High MC. He takes one look at Clara and decides it’s the beginning of them. Clara somehow misses that message until she runs into trouble again and Buck and his MC bail her out.

I feel like I’m on a roll with Kristen Ashley novels. I’m really enjoying them lately. Still Standing is a woman in jeopardy trope, which Kristen Ashley in her earlier novels did so well. Clara is a good girl that just doesn’t understand how and why she got herself into this position. Buck, as the president of an MC, is not the man she ever thought she’d end up with, but then look how her last husband turned out. On the surface he was bright, shiny, and clean but underneath he was dirty. Buck is kind of the reverse. On the surface he is rough and dirty, but he actually lives by a code and that code is brotherhood and honor. Clara see’s that and wants to be good enough for him. Unfortunately, she feels dirty and doesn’t see herself as being good enough for him. It’s a really interesting twist on the usual MC novel. I’ll admit I liked this pair as a couple. I also liked the way Kristen Ashley told the story. It really reminded me of what I loved so much about Mystery Man, Tyra and Tack’s story from long ago. Also, one of my favorite KA novels. Another good girl with a slightly unsavory MC President. This one not quite so clean as Buck and his brothers, but just as fascinating.

I have really high hopes for this newest MC series. There was some great physicality, but there was also a lot of story packed into this novel as well. It had a nice even balance and I didn’t find myself skimming through sex scenes to get to the plot. If you want to read a Kristen Ashley series from the start, I’d read this novel. As I said above, it has the feel of the Chaos novels, and if you like it you have 8 of those to go back and read. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Still Standing (Wild West MC Series Book 1)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Beth Fremont and her friend Jennifer work in the newsroom of a newspaper. They know that their emails are being monitored by corporate but they still conduct private conversations that might be thought to be inappropriate to the powers that be. Normally and email is sent to the writers if they are misusing their emails, but they never receive one, so they continue their discussions thinking that maybe that “monitoring” isn’t actually happening. Lincoln O’Neill is the guy whose job it is to monitor those emails. Every night when he gets to work he goes through the notification file and see’s Beth and Jennifer have again been tagged. The problem is that their emails are just so interesting!

The majority of this novel are the email exchanges between Beth and Jennifer. They talk about everything under the sun. What’s going on in their lives, marriages, relationships, etc. Their exchanges are engaging, funny, and insightful. If I were Lincoln, I’d want to keep reading them too. The problem is that Lincoln starts to fall for one of them. They are both in relationships, Jennifer is married and Beth has a long term boyfriend. Lincoln is dying to see what they look like but most of the time they work during the day and he works at night, but he can see pictures on their desks. Beth’s boyfriend is a good looking guy who is in a band and Lincoln through their emails knows that it’s not the perfect relationship and he gets his hopes up.

This novel is the perfect mix of voyeurism and hilarity. You learn a lot about these characters through their writing but you also learn a lot about Lincoln. He is a big part of the story. I was surprised by how invested I got in both of the girls stories because I really on learned about them through emails. This was a very different kind of love story but I enjoyed it a lot. It was actually quite funny and I can see why Lincoln didn’t want to stop reading those emails, for the most part they were really funny!

This is not a new novel, it was released in 2011 and takes place in 1999 as the year is turning to 2000. Technology is a small part of the story because Lincoln is essentially in the IT department and in 2000 everyone was worried what would happen to their technology when that year turned over. As I lived through all of that I found it funny to remember how we were all so worried and then nothing happened. That added to the humor for me in this novel. If you are in the mood for a slow burn romance that is truly different, I’d give Attachments a chance. It’s more story than romance and I loved the humanity in these characters. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* Attachments: A Novel

Copyright 2021 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: Threshold of Annihilation (The Firebird Chronicles #3) by T.A. White

Picking up exactly where Age of Deception (book #2) left off, Kira finds herself back on her ship heading towards Jettie and the other children. Instead of being able to get on the planet undetected she finds that it’s the host of the quorum, a sort of Olympic planetary games and you can only be on the planet if you are competing. Having competed before under an Alias, Kira signs up hoping to lie low and avoid the Tuann. Unfortunately they are also planetside and although wanting to remain hidden Kira isn’t very good at flying under the radar. She is wanted by not just the Tuann and Graydon, but also the Haldeel empress and her Tsavitee enemies. This makes for an action packed novel that I really couldn’t not put down once I was enmeshed in this story.

Why are these books so good? Kira is a strong heroine who has a sad background which makes the reader root for her on every level. We want her to find friends, family, love, kick enemy butt, and have her heroism revealed for all because she is just that awesome. T.A. White’s world building is fantastic and once again I’m looking around through Kira’s eyes and soaking it all in. Her writing is very descriptive and despite the alien landscape you can very easily identify and “see” everything. It is so easy to lose yourself in a novel filled with great characters and vibrant worlds.

Kira is still playing cat and mouse with her love interest and fellow Tuann, Graydon. The most awesome thing about their relationship is not their amazing chemistry, it’s that this man allows her to be who she is and although he’s protective he doesn’t try to shelter her from danger. He see’s her for the person she is and although her actions make him nervous he encourages her growth instead of inhibiting it. You can’t help but love a guy like that.

We learn a lot more about Kira’s character and background because of her foster parent role to her “niece” Elena, the daughter of another lost Tuann child. Her role as mother reveals interesting aspects of her character that I really didn’t expect to see. No, she’s not the most nurturing woman but she is loving and shows that through her mentorship and guidance. Seeing that side of her added depth to her character that surprised me again. Be prepared for quite a few surprises to be revealed in this novel, the plot is now moving along pretty quickly and I can’t wait to see where the next book leads us.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Threshold of Annihilation (The Firebird Chronicles Book 3)

Copyright 2021 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: Love at First by Kate Clayborn

When he was sixteen, Will went with his mother to Chicago to visit an uncle he never knew he had. While outside on his uncle’s balcony he hears a girl one or two floors up speaking to someone. Her voice captures his imagination and he thinks of her all the time over the years following. Sixteen years later he inherits his uncle’s condo and meets that same girl, now a young woman whom he has an instant connection. The problem is that he wants to use the condo as a long term rental and Nora and the other occupants of the building are against it. Love at First is an atypical enemies to lovers tale with a great cast of side characters and two main characters who will tug at your heart.

As I was reading Love at First and getting used to the pace I was having flashbacks to the movies Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping. Both of those are favorite romance movies of mine. Love At First has a similar pace and humor. Softly sweet and a little magical. Will and Nora (perhaps named after Nora Ephron?) despite being on opposite sides of the rental argument have that instant connection that adds an electricity to their interactions. Literally and metaphysically. When they touch hands for the first time they felt that connection and despite not seeing each other much at first their only thoughts are of each other. This is definitely a woman’s love story and plays into all of our romantic hopes and dreams. Well, mine anyway. Instant love, connection, physical attraction, and a gentleness and thoughtfulness that screams I love you. Magical.

Let’s talk about Will and Nora. Although I loved them for each other they were not perfect people. Who wants to read about perfect people who meet and fall in love? Most people reading these novels aren’t perfect and the main characters faults allow us to dream that this too may happen to us. Despite different circumstances growing up, Will and Nora have similar feelings of abandonment, but Nora had her Nonna and the residents of this Condo complex she is so attached to, Will only had himself. As they explore their relationship there is such a gentleness to how they interact, it really gives a magical feel to what they discover about themselves and each other.

I can’t end this review without a brief note about the cast of characters that live in the condo complex. They are funny, friendly, grouchy, and complex. I loved how despite their differences they were a family that looked out for and loved each other. What a fabulous place to live, despite the weird smells and flocked wall paper.

You may have guessed that I really enjoyed Love at First. It’s hard not to appreciate the authors ability to remove cynicism and reality from the reader’s mind and replace those things with a story that draws them in and holds them in the strong arms of a soft and sweet romance. I reveled in that vacation from realism and can’t wait for this author to write her next novel so I can put those rose colored glasses back on.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Love at First: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Story of Love and Second Chances

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Passion on Park Avenue (The Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne

Naomi Powell has transformed herself from the poor daughter of a housekeeper to CEO of a Fortune 500 jewelry business but despite her success she’s had trouble putting her past behind her. She receives an invitation to interview for an open apartment in the very same Park Avenue building where she’d lived with her mother when she was a housekeeper. That job ended in embarrassment, living on the streets for a short time, and her mother’s eventual decline. Naomi has held a grudge against the boy she used to know, Oliver Cunningham and his failure to stand up for her to his father. When it is none other than Oliver himself who interviews her for the apartment she does the unexpected and accepts the offer to live next door to him. What she finds is that he and his father are not the people she expected them to be. Can she put the past behind her and take his offer of friendship seriously? Especially when she finds him so attractive?

I’ll admit a great enemies to lovers plot is my favorite romance trope, but there was something more to Passion on Park Avenue. I think it was Naomi’s background and her rags to riches story. Super private, Naomi doesn’t let a lot of people close. The series is based on a female friendship between she and two other women who all got screwed over by the same man, so her mistrust in people seems pretty apt. She does strike up a heartfelt friendship with those ladies so it doesn’t seem to far fetched for her to give Oliver a chance at friendship. Especially once she see’s that he isn’t the boy she remembers. It does take her a little while to get there though. The fact that Oliver wants something a bit more than friendship is something she isn’t ready to give, but their dance towards romance is tension filled and makes for a great story.

There is a surprising amount of depth in this novel. Not just in the premise of the three ladies who become friends when they find out at his funeral that they all were involved with the same man. That is a great way to start but once Naomi’s story gets going we see that hard as nails shell is actually a protective shield to keep her from being hurt like she was over and over by the people she counted on as a child. Her own mother included. Naomi has always had to count on herself, so it’s hard for her to let someone else in her life and doesn’t know how to lean on someone else. It does help that Oliver is taking care of his ill father and despite his strength could use someone to lean on himself. His reasons for never letting a woman get close are pretty obvious. His time is restricted by his father’s needs. Can the two of them get over their misplaced independence and come to rely on each other? Well, this is a romance so you can guess that they do, but their story is worth reading to find out how it happens.

I should mention that I read the second book in this series first, and liked it enough to go back to start the series. I actually liked this novel even better than the second one. I think I’m a sucker for great female fictional friendships. Naomi, Claire, and Audrey have that bond of betrayal that makes them become true friends. They are each totally different than each other, but somehow each of their strengths balance the others weakness. I love that their friendship is just as big a part of the story as the romance, and that story continues through each book and just keeps getting better.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance with some depth of character, please give this series a try. This novel was fun, but it also had some emotional moments that had me reaching for a tissue. It was the perfect balance of romance and story. I’m giving it a 4.5 rating for entertainment and striking the right emotional chord. I hope you’ll like it as well. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* Passion on Park Avenue (1) (The Central Park Pact)

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This Chick Read: Free (Chaos #6) by Kristen Ashley

Rebel Stapleton’s best friend fell a victim to addiction which led her down the path to her ultimate death. Wanting revenge for her friends death Rebel goes undercover hoping to gather evidence and build a case against the people who killed her. She put her life on the line, which became unacceptable to many people, but mostly to Rush, a man that she hadn’t yet met, but who was determined to protect her.

With a name like Rebel you knew she’d be the perfect girlfriend to a biker guy named Rush. As with many of our alpha hero’s he took one look at her through binoculars no less, and decided she was the one for him. Despite her independence she quickly realized she was in over her head and seemed somewhat relieved that he swooped in to save her. Unfortunately she’d caught the eye of the bad guy who was also determined to make her his own. That was just not going to happen on Rush’s watch.

Free, the title for what might be the last book in this series. A concept that for the men of the Chaos MC means they can live their lives free and clear, having gotten out of the illegal game their predecessors had led them into. It also means that they let other people live their lives and they don’t pass judgement. I liked this concept and them for this book a lot. I just wish the story had been as simple as that theme. Free, the story was a convoluted mix of twists and turns that instead of being a series of reveals for the reader just created more conflict. I’ll admit this novel exhausted me and I’m a fan of this series.

There is always a bit of emotional drama in a KA novel. This had an overabundance of both but what it was missing was a little bit of the humor that balanced all of that dark drama. Some of her other novels found that balance which made those stories more enjoyable to read. This novel was dark after dark, only letting in a small amount of light which would be the romance of Rush and Rebel. I just wish the author hadn’t taken us on the other tangents which I felt were a little unnecessary and tainted my feelings for this book a bit.

So, I had mixed feelings for this book. ❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Free (Chaos Series Book 7)

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