This Chick Read: Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

Avery Abram’s Olympic hopes were derailed in 2012 by a career ending injury. In the years since she fought depression, failing out of school, and most recently a bad break-up with her boyfriend. Returning home to live with her parents and work at the gym where it all started wasn’t quite what she’d planned, but working with an Olympic hopeful with the boy she crushed on as a teenager might fix what was broken. Head Over Heels delivers more than the rom-com promised giving the reader a behind the scenes look at competitive gymnastics and how these young girls handle the high stakes pressure.

Avery’s character was a pretty easy one to like. Showing frailty and uncertainty after her hope’s were dashed, she tries to drown her sorrows in alcohol and clubbing. This seemed a likely scenario for someone who wouldn’t know what to do with all of that energy she was used to expelling on a mat. When she hits bottom and moves back home she grasps at a lifeline of working with a young gymnast and in that job finds her new role in life. Ryan, an ex-Olympian himself understands what she went through and never holds her past against her. I thought that might have white-washed the realism just a tad, but hey, this was also a romance! His role was to be charming, cute, and convenient, and he was all that and more!

Obviously what I liked more in this book was the role between Avery and the young gymnast she was coaching, Hallie. Set during a parallel to real life sexual misconduct scandal, the stress Hallie is under and the physical and mental abuses Avery went through at that same age made for a great comparison and helped the reader care about both of these characters and see positive outcomes to their story. This storyline was the strength in this story and was what gave it a heartbeat.

The author did a great job of detailing the gymnastics in a way that a fan of sports but not gymnastics in general could follow. You could feel the stress and tension in the competitions which helped the story arc and conflict have more impact than it would have otherwise. I really enjoyed those parts of the story and felt the roller coaster emotions that a competitor may have felt as they tried to work their way towards those gold medals.

Ryan as the love interest was just ok. I liked that he and Avery shared a love for what they did, but without giving away the plot it’s hard to describe why I didn’t like him more. I’ll just say that one of the choices he makes for me would have been a deal breaker and I just couldn’t get past that.

I did really like Head Over Heels, and after everything above it won’t come as a big surprise that it was because of the gymnastics and Avery’s self-healing sub-plot. If you like sports themed romances or women’s fiction I think you’ll like this fast paced easy to read summer novel. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Head Over Heels: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman

Mother-daughter duo Jessica and Emily Burnstein are about to spend a week touring east coast colleges. It’s Emily’s chance to make a decision on her future and for her mother, Jessica, it’s the chance to get closer to the daughter she loves. On the tour are other parental-kid units, including another mother and daughter whom both Jessica and Emily loathe. Will Emily and Jessica get along? Grow closer? Or become further apart than they ever were?

Abbi Waxman is one of my go to author’s since her hilarious debut A Garden of Small Beginnings. I’ll admit to being slightly disappointed by her last two novels that although good were not as funny as the first. I Was Told It Would Get Easier came through with both funny scenes but also quite tender ones that had heart and made me really like these characters.

Now, I’ll admit, when I was the age of Emily Burnstein my parents didn’t take me on a college tour, they were just excited I got accepted to any! I did find the relationship between Jessica and Emily quite familiar, as I’m sure a lot of reader’s will. Emily was a typical 16 year old girl with all the sass and hormones, and a mother who was bewildered by how to bond with her daughter. I really liked both of their characters and how over the course of a week they managed to find common ground and even ended up understanding each other a little bit better.

The love interests! Yes, there was a cute boy on the trip who Emily crushed on and their budding relationship was sweet and also pretty funny. Did Jessica have a love interest? Well, there was this one scene with an ex from college that was too hilarious. We all look back on those guys fondly, don’t we? Jessica had her hands full with this one, but thankfully Emily was there to keep her on the straight and narrow.

There were a lot of fun characters in this novel, some of whom you will recognize if you’re like me and have read all of the previous novels by this author. It’s not just a mother-daughter bonding book, there were kooky happenings, drunk mom dancing, and even a bit of crime solving! I really enjoyed all of the hijinks, but even more I loved the heart. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* I Was Told It Would Get Easier

Copyright 2020 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: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Emma Blair meets the love of her life in high school. She and Jesse share the need for adventure and getting out of their hometown and away from the expectations of their parents. Going away to school in California, they never look back, both finding adventure. When they get married, their expectations are the same, to live life to the fullest. When Jesse goes missing after a helicopter crash and is presumed dead, Emma breaks down and moves back home and the support of her family. A few years later, now in her 30’s Emma is finding happiness doing what she thought always thought she didn’t want. Working for her family’s bookstore and loving living in a small town. She meets Sam and allows herself to look forward, instead of always thinking of the past. They get engaged, and Emma gets a phone call from her long lost husband. Which life does Emma now want? The life of adventure with her lost love? Or the solid life of love and responsibility that she now has with Sam?

Having only read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s two bestseller’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six, I didn’t know what to expect from this kind of normal sounding love story. Albeit one with a bit of a twist. Emma was a heroine that many of us could easily identify with; young and carefree but forced to grow up when tragedy strikes. It’s the choice she has to make between the two men that is different. One that will keep readers turning the pages.

Jesse is that boy that everyone loved in high school, popular, athletic, and effortlessly charming. When he and Emma connected at a young age their path was set. Get out of town and explore what their lives have to offer. Emma views that past life through rose tinted glasses and the question is whether her vision will clear when Jesse returns to her life.

Sam had been in love with Emma in their teens. He worked with her in the bookstore and at one point she had even crushed on him too. When she fell for Jesse, Sam pushed his feelings aside but never quite got over Emma. When they accidentally meet his feelings for her come back. Emma’s also surprised by her feelings for Sam and moves forward hoping Jesse would want her happiness. Is Sam going to be the man she picks for the rest of her life?

I found myself flipping between team Jesse and team Sam. Taylor Jenkins Reid did a great job and letting the reader get to know both of these men and so when Emma waffled, we completely understood! The outcome of this three way triangle was not unexpected but my feelings for it were. I cried my way through the last third of the book!

Not knowing what to expect may have been the best thing for me while reading One True Loves. I actually really liked the characters, Reid deftly handled the storyline, and it had a great ending. Was it on par with her two bestsellers? No. However, it was vastly better than some other romances I’ve read lately! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I flew through this one in a single afternoon! I really enjoy Taylor Jenkins’ Reid’s writing and will be happily picking up more of her backlist titles!” DG Reads

“I really did love this book, even if it made me cry! For the record, I think all of her books have made me cry. I think one of the things that draws me to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books are the raw emotions that are so prevalent in her stories.” Faeryreads

Click this link to purchase!* One True Loves: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffen

It’s the spring of 2001 and Cecily Gardner and her boyfriend have just broken up. Trying to distract herself from calling him, Cecily takes a walk in New York City and ends up at this small pub. She asks to borrow a phone to give in an call her ex when a man sits down next to her and cautions her not to make that call. Cecily and Grant don’t do much talking that night but they sit next to each other at the bar and when it closes he walks her home. She lets him in and they fall asleep platonically, but it’s the beginning of something, but she’s not sure exactly what.

Cecily and Grant have an instant connection and stay in touch, even when he takes his sick brother to London for the summer for treatment. When he returns, he tells her he loves her, spends the night, and then disappears when two planes hit the World Trade Center on September, 11th. During her search for him she stumbles upon some truths. Truths that change the direction of her life.

I have only ever read one other Emily Giffen novel called The One and Only. In that novel the heroine falls for her best friends father. A disturbing theme that somehow turns out ok and I remember admiring the author for making me feel something even though the topic made me feel kind of uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I was a good way into The Lies That Bind that I realized this was that same author and I had that same feeling again. Cecily’s actions made me feel slightly uncomfortable. Even though she was in love with Grant because of what she found out after 9/11 she ran back into the arms of her ex, Matthew. The she started her own brand of lying. I admired the authors storytelling, but again was reading a plot that was out of my comfort zone. Did I like it? I’m still mulling over that thought. I think I can safely say that I did, although I will admit to skimming over a couple of areas because I needed to read to a point where I started feeling better. I can totally understand if this is confusing to you all because it’s confusing to me too, but without giving away all of the secrets and lies, it leaves me with only that gut feeling to talk about.

Let’s talk characters. I liked Cecily despite disagreeing with a couple of choices that she made in this story. I also liked Grant. Even after hearing the truth. Just as Cecily repeats in the book their love felt so real. It did to me too! The person who honestly drove me crazy was Cecily’s best friend Scottie. His personality was very over the top and he seemed kind of unforgiving? Despite his own sad predicament, he wasn’t a very sympathetic character and Cecily, bless her heart, needing someone to help lead her out of the path she was on. Unfortunately Scottie was not that guy. He was good for a little comic relief though.

Just as in The One and Only, despite how the book made me squirm, I liked the author’s style and her willingness to look at different kinds of behaviors and dig deep into her characters psyche. There were just too many grey areas and my own morals are pretty black and white. I’ll admit, this did slant my rating down just a tad I would have a hard time giving it less than a 4 rating. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Lies That Bind: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reviewed

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

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases – June 2020

Ahh summer! The season where we look forward to vacations, the beach, and reading a lot of great summer releases. Cue the sound of tires screeching! This year my vacation is delayed, I’m scared of the crowds at the beach, and will probably spend any time off in my own home where I will be living vicariously through the characters I’m reading about. The new normal, at least for a little while longer.

When I was looking at the June releases I was surprised at the number of books I’m interested in reading! I know my ARC schedule is pretty packed but there are even a few more that I didn’t realize were coming out next month that I’ve now added to my TBR. Here are my top 5 most anticipated.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

Penny Reid is giving Cletus and Jennifer from the Winston Brothers series their own mystery series! My hope is that it’s as quirky and fun as the Winston Series. I have a feeling I’m going to be surprised!

Synopsis:

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Sabotage!

Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?

‘Engagement and Espionage’ is the first book in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries series, is a full-length cozy mystery, and is a spin-off of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. This novel is best read after ‘Beard Science,’ Winston Brothers #3.

Click this link to purchase!* Engagement and Espionage (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries Book 1)

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

A romantic retelling of Jo & Laurie from Little Women’s romance. Wait, what? Yes, if Jo & Laurie had a romance, here is what Margaret Stohl and Melissa De La Cruz have imagined it to be. How can I pass this one up?

Synopsis:

Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence.

1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration–museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?

Click this link to purchase!* Jo & Laurie

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I’m going to let the synopsis speak for itself. It looks so good!

Synopsis:

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city—and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Matthew. 

As Cecily reaches for the phone to call him, she hears a guy on the barstool next to her say, “Don’t do it—you’ll regret it.” Something tells her to listen, and over the next several hours—and shots of tequila—the two forge an unlikely connection. That should be it, they both decide the next morning, as Cecily reminds herself of the perils of a rebound relationship. Moreover, their timing couldn’t be worse—Grant is preparing to quit his job and move overseas. Yet despite all their obstacles, they can’t seem to say goodbye, and for the first time in her carefully constructed life, Cecily follows her heart instead of her head. 

Then Grant disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Fearing the worst, Cecily spots his face on a missing-person poster, and realizes she is not the only one searching for him. Her investigative reporting instincts kick into action as she vows to discover the truth. But the questions pile up fast: How well did she really know Grant? Did he ever really love her? And is it possible to love a man who wasn’t who heseemed to be? 

The Lies That Bind is a mesmerizing and emotionally resonant exploration of the never-ending search for love and truth—in our relationships, our careers, and deep within our own hearts.

Click this link to purchase!* The Lies That Bind: A Novel

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

OK, I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for a good sports romance, especially if it’s the girl that’s the athlete. I’ve never read a book by Hannah Orenstein before, but the synopsis caught my interested and I’ll be reading this one sooner rather than later.

Synopsis:

From the author of the Love at First Like and Playing with Matches, an electrifying rom-com set in the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics, full of Hannah Orenstein’s signature “charm, whimsy, and giddy romantic tension” (BuzzFeed).

The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jasmine Guillory, Head Over Heels proves that no one “writes about modern relationships with more humor or insight than Hannah Orenstein” (Dana Schwartz, author of Choose Your Own Disaster).

Click this link to purchase!* Head Over Heels: A Novel

MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I can’t even tell you how excited I am that we have another book in the Hollows series! I don’t know how she got talked into writing another Rachel Morgan book after the series had been completed, but THANK YOU!

Synopsis:

RACHEL MORGAN IS BACK–AND THE HOLLOWS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

What happens after you’ve saved the world? Well, if you’re Rachel Mariana Morgan, witch-born demon, you quickly discover that something might have gone just a little bit wrong. That the very same acts you and your friends took to forge new powers may have released something bound by the old. With a rash of zombies, some strange new murders, and an exceedingly mysterious new demon in town, it will take everything Rachel has to counter this new threat to the world–and it may demand the sacrifice of what she holds most dear.

Click this link to purchase!* American Demon (Hollows Book 14)

These are the books I’m most looking forward to reading when they’re released next month, but gosh, there are so many more than what’s on this list! What June releases are you most looking forward to reading? Let me know!

Happy Reading!

Deb

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase a book through one of the above links, I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Beach Read by Emily Henry

If you were to pick up this book based upon the title, cover, and synopsis you’d expect to get a rom-com about two authors who live next to each other at the beach, who while in a moment of writer’s block decide to challenge each other by writing a novel in the other person’s style. A meet cute that would end in happiness, and they didn’t lie, it is kind of all that. But it’s also so much more.

January, who writes happily ever after romances and Gus Everett who writes dark literary fiction take each other on research “field trips” to help the other person see into their world. As they do this, each opens up to the other about their own difficulties, insecurities, hopes, and dreams. Most importantly and not surprisingly they fall for each other. What is surprising are the emotional moments, the heart tearing fears, and heart mending, loving prose. This book was so much more than a “Beach Read” that it does a disservice to the excellence inside the story by misrepresenting (in my opinion) what the reader should expect.

I don’t think I’m going to give away any secrets by hinting at a couple of things in their back stories. One, January and Gus have a past, and two they both just had their hearts broken, albeit in different ways. These things provide so much more depth to the story than two authors who happen to live next to each other at the beach. It provides context for how they interact with each other. January’s distrust and dislike, and Gus’s frustration and fear, all feelings that don’t usually provide rom-com fodder. Yes, there are funny moments, but there were a lot more moments where I clung to my tissue. The banter between these two was bright, but it was also colored with emotion and pain. This book was so much more….

So, if you do pick up this book because the cover is cute (and it is!), or because it’s painted as a rom-com (kind of?), or the synopsis sounds like two people will fall in love (they do!), just know that this book is so much more than all of that. It’s two people who help each other through pain, build a friendship that started in misunderstanding, and fall in love in a way that will break your heart and provide you joy in an unexpected way. These characters? I am so in LOVE with them. This book? Definitely in my Top 10 so far this year. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Beach Read

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey

Octogenarian Duffy Sinclair is living in what he hopes is his final residence Centennial Assisted Living. His roommate Carl and he are a bit of an odd couple with Duffy the gruff and surly character to Carl’s straight-laced Oscar. Or so Duffy thinks. One night a young woman in her 20’s sneaks through the window of their bedroom and claims she’s Carl’s granddaughter Josie. It’s a surprise to Duffy as Carl has claimed he didn’t have any children. AS the story unfolds their secrets are revealed and neither is who the other thought he was and Josie? She’s exactly who she says she is but her story creates a need, in Carl to finally be a grandfather, and in Duffy, a chance to redeem himself by helping this young woman through a difficult time.

OK, I’ll just say that this novel is a total departure from my normal reading. When I described the book to my husband (briefly) as a book about two old guys in an assisted living facility he asked me if it was a love story. Ha! Nope, or er, well, maybe? But not between Duffy and Carl, although there was a deep friendship and love did live in that relationship.

I really loved Duffy. He was so surly and not apologetic about it at all. However, when Josie enters his life he see’s in her a soulmate of sorts, and his chance for redemption for a life he felt he’d wasted. Interestingly enough, Josie was also drawn to Duffy, rather more so than Carl. Understandably so when you realize that Carl’s faults contributed to Josie’s problems- in a big way. As Duffy navigates through life in Centennial, helping to hide Josie during her visit, and and his issues with his roommate Carl you realize there’s a lot more to this old man that seemed at first. Those little details are why I loved him so much. He had so much heart!

The cast of characters in the assisted living facility were what brought life to this novel. Alice’s gentle beauty, Mrs. Zimmerman’s confused meanderings, and Sharon’s evil selfishness. All added depth and meaning to Duffy’s character adding a realness that the thought of him not accomplishing his goal of helping Josie wasn’t insurmountable. The humor and life that filled Centennial really opened my eyes to the life within our elderly. Yeah, I know this was fiction, but their problems were real and I just didn’t want to think that their days were slowly coming to an end.

I can’t help but wonder what brought this story into Brooke Fossey’s mind. In today’s world the elderly are almost forgotten, but Ms. Fossey has done a very good job of bringing them back into the light in a really positive heart-rending way. Even at the end, when I was quietly shedding tears, I has really happy that I’d read this novel and gotten to know these characters. Somehow through Duffy’s trials and tribulations I learned something about myself as well. This is a story I’ll reflect on for a while. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Big Finish

Copyright 2020 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? (4/13/2020)

Ahh Monday, another week where I’m working from home. Does anyone else actually miss going to work like I do? Anyway, it was a nice weekend celebrating Easter with the family, all while staying six feet apart. The new normal. I was able to escape into my apartment to escape from reality by reading another romance novel. It’s funny, but romances seem to be one of the things helping me get through this social distancing. There’s something about knowing there’s an HEA at the end of the story that makes life a little brighter. Let me tell you a little bit about what I’m reading.

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

I’ve had The Proposal on my shelf for awhile but still hadn’t gotten around to reading it. It’s a lighthearted rom-com and fit my mood to a T. Review to come!

Synopsis:

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise—or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part—they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up—in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

Click this link to purchase! The Proposal

JUST STARTED

Don’t tell anyone but I haven’t actually started this one yet. However, I have the ARC and the book comes out on Tuesday. It does look really cute and I’m hoping it hits the right note for me!

Synopsis:

ogether, they’re going to learn it’s never too late—or too early—to change your ways.

For Duffy Sinclair, life boils down to one simple thing: maintaining his residence at the idyllic Centennial Assisted Living. Without it, he’s destined for the roach-infested nursing home down the road—and after wasting the first eighty-eight years of his life, he refuses to waste away for the rest. So, he keeps his shenanigans to the bare minimum with the help of his straight-laced best friend and roommate, Carl Upton.

But when Carl’s granddaughter Josie climbs through their bedroom window with booze on her breath and a black eye, Duffy’s faced with trouble that’s sticking around and hard to hide—from Centennial’s management and Josie’s toxic boyfriend. Before he knows it, he’s running a covert operation that includes hitchhiking and barhopping.

He might as well write himself a one-way ticket to the nursing home…or the morgue. Yet Duffy’s all in. Because thanks to an unlikely friendship that becomes fast family—his life doesn’t boil down the same anymore. Not when he finally has a chance to leave a legacy.

In a funny, insightful, and life-affirming debut, Brooke Fossey delivers an unflinching look at growing old, living large, and loving big, as told by a wise-cracking man who didn’t see any of it coming.

Click this link to purchase!* The Big Finish

I hope you all had a great weekend and have read a ton of great books. Fill me in if you have!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- April ’20

Usually I say “Wow, time has flown by and I can’t believe it’s already…”, but this month I have to say I feel like the days are crawling. I’m working from home, “social distancing”, worried about my job, and trying not to spend any money. So, I kind of wish the days would speed by quicker. Let’s get this curve flattened so I can get on with my life, whatever life is left to live at that point. I don’t mean to be a downer, but I, like many others am feeling discouraged. So, when I thought of putting together this post about what books I’m looking forward to in April, I’ve decided to actually look forward. Live for the future, not the present, right?

So, here are my Top 5 book releases for the month of April. I know my Top 5 will not be the same as your own, so feel free to chime in and let me know what books I’m missing and/or should be reading next month.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I just started this novel and it starts quick, cute, and I’ve already fallen in serious like with my characters. yay!

Synopsis:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and to Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.

Click this link to purchase!* To Have and to Hoax: A Novel

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

The beautiful cover caught my eye and then the synopsis drew me in. This one looks good!

Synopsis: A trio of second-born daughters sets out on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love, by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.
 
Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.

Click this link to purchase!* The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

The publishers got me with the comparison to Bridget Jones. I am so curious about this one!

Synopsis:

Meet Roxy. She’s a sometimes vegan, always broke artist with a heart the size of Texas and an ex living in her spare bedroom. Her life is messy, but with the help of a few good friends and by the grace of the goddess Venus she’ll discover that good sex, true love, and her life’s purpose are all closer than she realizes.

Bridget Jones penned a diary; Roxy writes letters. Specifically: she writes letters to her hapless, rent-avoidant ex-boyfriend—and current roommate—Everett. This charming and funny twenty-something is under-employed (and under-romanced), and she’s decidedly fed up with the indignities she endures as a deli maid at Whole Foods (the original), and the dismaying speed at which her beloved Austin is becoming corporatized. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.

As her letters to Everett become less about overdue rent and more about the state of her life, Roxy realizes she’s ready to be the heroine of her own story. She decides to team up with her two best friends to save Austin—and rescue Roxy’s love life—in whatever way they can. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and find romance—and even creative inspiration—in the process?

Click this link to purchase!* The Roxy Letters: A Novel

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I love books about re-igniting love, or even better enemies to lovers. This one intrigues me and I like this author.

Synopsis:

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

Click this link to purchase!* You Deserve Each Other

MOST ANTICIPATED APRIL’20 BOOK RELEASE!

I’m so excited a third book was written for this series!

Synopsis:

Layla Beckett has a secret. For the past ten years, she’s run the most trafficked fan site on the Internet for her favorite band—under an alias, naturally. When she lands a job at the prestigious New York City music magazine The Rock Paper, she’s suddenly thrust into the world she’s only observed from the cheap seats. Now that she’s brushing elbows with sexy guitarists and hot frontmen, she wants to play it cool and keep her superfan status on the down low. Although she’s dying to gush on her forum, posting her insider adventures online could expose her real-life identity and blow her cover.

And that’s all before one of those sexy musicians becomes a fan of her.

From the minute he meets Layla, Shane Morgan’s heart beats a heavy metal rhythm, but his head is full of doubt. Since only the most hardcore fans could pick the drummer out of a lineup, he’s resigned to groupies using him to get closer to the more famous guitarists. But he doesn’t want to be Layla’s passthrough.

As Layla gets to know the real people behind the music, she’s drawn to the less-than-flashy drummer’s sweet charms, fascinating mind, and banging hot body, but she worries about his insecurities. She needs to convince Shane she’s moved beyond fandom before he discovers her online history and loses all faith in her intentions. But the Internet is forever, and secrets have a way of getting out.

Click this link to purchase!* Kind of Famous (Flirting with Fame)

As I’ve written this post I’ve gotten a little more excited about reading some books. I hope I’ve put a book on your radar that maybe you might have missed? Please let me know which books you’re most looking forward to next month.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Deb

This Chick's Audio Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I know, I know, I’m really late to the party for this book. I always like to say, it’s never to late to read a great book and it’s certainly always ok to talk about it!

Monique Grant is a writer for an entertainment magazine when she gets called into her boss’s office and is told that the famous screen star Evelyn Hugo wants to do a feature on some gowns she’s donating for charity, and she has asked specifically for Monique to write the story. When Monique meets Evelyn, she’s told that it’s actually not a feature that she wants her to write, it’s her memoir. As she tells the story of her life, and her many marriages, she reveals many things about herself but always holds back from telling Monique why she was chosen to tell this story …until the very end. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was as good as I’d hoped and as good as the hype. Alma Cuervo, Julia Whelan, and Robin Miles did an amazing job making me forget I was listening to a book and not watching a movie.

I really don’t want to spoil the story or what each of her marriages represent and how they molded Evelyn’s future. Instead I’m going to talk about impressions the book made on me.

This novel draws on many similarities from some famous marriages, the most famous of which was Elizabeth Taylor for her many marriages. As the narrators navigated through each husband and why Evelyn married that person, some for love, some for hype, one was her best friend, I couldn’t help but think if that was really common. With the advent of the internet, social media, and of how easy it is for a star to now engage with their public and change their image (Miley Cyrus’s most recent implosion of a marriage and self control comes to mind) it was fascinating to take this journey into the past when you had to manipulate people and the press. I didn’t mean to go on a tangent but I’ve always found that era fascinating and seeing this story through modern eyes puts a spin on what women and certain groups of that era might have had to do to make their way.

Evelyn’s life from childhood to mature woman was centered around her body image and what power that body could bring to her. I never realized how powerful a pair of breasts could be, it made me a tad bit uncomfortable to think that men could be so superficial. In an age where women had to balance their sexuality with an act of innocence so they didn’t appear a whore I guess those breasts would bring you a kind of power you wouldn’t normally be able to grasp as a woman in that time. Think of how Marilyn Monroe was lauded for her figure yet played the part of an airhead. It really puts into perspective how far the women’s movement has come, yet we are still experiencing inequality. Not that I’m an actress, but the whole Harvey Weinstein powermonger rapist opened my eyes to how the movie business even 5 years ago was still controlled by men of that ilk, but back to the book.

Monique’s tale about her own life is told in smaller snippets in between Evelyn’s monologue and we see her gain her own power through her negotiations with her magazine, as well as her relationship with her husband. She learns from Evelyn and even though there’s this secret of why she’s been chosen to write this memoir hanging over her head, you can see her admiration grow. It makes the reveal at the end even more impactful. I was looking for the answer to this secret Evelyn had hanging over Monique’s head and didn’t even come close to figuring it out. The story was wonderfully told, beautifully narrated, and shockingly good. My mom always says to never rush a good thing and I’m glad I waited to read this novel until all the hype had passed and nothing could spoil my pleasure. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I just loved this book, plain and simple. I think it would make a fantastic book group choice, as there’s so much to mull over and think about. I’m pushing this book on a few key bookish friends so I can talk about it with them!” Bookshelf Fantasies

“I was in love with the setting, moving back and forth between Los Angeles and New York. Reading about the ’50’s-’90’s and how much everything has changed since then, it was hypnotizing and alluring. Having the whole story come together and wrap up in 2017 was just the absolute perfect bow-tie on top.” Hunida’s Blog

Click this link to purchase!* The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

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