This Chick Read: Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman

After recovering from a debilitating car accident, Laura Costello moves across family to get away from her over protective family. After barely moving in, her apartment burns down and she gets caught in a downpour outside a bookstore in Larchmont Village, a community located in the heart of Los Angeles. She meets the ladies in the bookstore, Nina, Liz, and Polly, and they take her in. Polly taking her home to live in an available room in the large home she rents in Highland Park, just down the street. There Laura meets Bob, or Impossibly Handsome Bob, as her new friends call him. He’s just as they claim, Impossibly Handsome, but he’s also impossibly awkward, shy, and uncomfortable. In Laura he finds someone with the same interests and who has a calmness that soothes his nervous mind. This novel centers on their story, but also includes the interesting characters who surround them.

Having lived in Los Angeles, I always find Abbi Waxman’s novels nostalgic. I grew up in southern California so there are a lot of little notes that only someone from that area would truly understand. For example, when there’s an earthquake you have an instinct for the score and if it’s lower than a 4.0 it’s nothing of note. You just get on with your life. Laura, our main protagonist is getting over PTSD from a bad car accident and is from the east coast, so an earthquake rock her world a little harder than it does our other characters who may shrug one off if it’s doesn’t really do any lasting damage. Other very LA things like traffic, bad drivers, weather, and thrift shopping make an appearance and make this novel feel very much an LA novel. So, I love that.

You can’t but fall in love with both Laura and Bob. They are very subtle characters who have an ease and calm that is very soothing to a reader. In some books that might be boring, but with all of the outlandish characters surrounding them, their calm interactions were kind of zen moments that brought the entire novel together. The pace of their love story was very fitting to their characterizations as well with the zaniness of what was going on around them, plus other characters self-journeys creating a tension that propelled the book forward allowing us to love Laura and Bob at the pace they needed to be loved.

I’ve read all of Abbi Waxman’s novels and each has been unique. I’ve liked some better than others, but none as much as The Garden of Small Beginnings, her debut novel. However, Adult Assembly Required has had the same ease as this author’s first novel, so I’d rate it my second favorite. Something they both share is one small child, Clare, who has got to be the funniest characterization of a child I’ve ever read. Clare is zany and bright and whenever she’s in a scene I just know I’m going to get a laugh or two. I laughed my way through The Garden of Small Beginnings and she gave me quite a few chuckles in Adult Assembly Required as well. I can only hope that at some point Clare grows up and we get a novel from her perspective because it would be so much fun! In this novel she was the perfect counterpoint to Laura’s assured calmness and made me like Laura even more.

If you like zany characters, great friendships, and quirky romances I think you should give this novel a try. It was great. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Adult Assembly Required

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Audio Review: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

Flora Sykes, a fine arts dealer, is brought in to assess an amazing find. An unopened apartment in Paris filled with antiques and art that haven’t been touched in 70 years. Owned by the wealthy Vermeil family, Flora’s job is to research those antiques and establish provenance. Using this job as an escape from a personal tragedy, Flora immerses herself in the history of this find that includes a rare Renoir. As she gets closer to answers she keeps stumbling upon the brusque Xavier Vermeil the heir to the Vermeil dynasty who seems upset at her involvement, especially when her research turns up a shocking truth that threatens the reputation of his family.

The Paris Secret takes you all over Europe, to London, Paris, New York, and Vienna and the narrator Lucy Price-Lewis does an amazing job moving smoothly from one accent to another. I truly felt like there were multiple people narrating this novel. She did an amazingly seamless job. I’ll definitely be putting her on my must listen list. However, it is the author who deftly wrote a story that I’ve now come across a few times, and made it stand out from the other novels. The Paris Secret did not provide flashbacks as a tool, staying in the 20th Century. An effective tool to show the disparity in wealth that the Vermeil family had and the power that wealth has given them over time. A power that in part came from their love of art.

As Flora was distracting herself with this amazingly interesting find in Paris, her family was going through something powerfully emotional. The author chose to keep the reader in the dark through a great portion of the book only revealing her family secret when it made sense in moving the plot emotionally forward. Her investigation and her own secret rode parallel to each other in the story creating an explosive conflict in the story between she and Xavier. I’ll admit their attraction was confusing, tense, and mysterious. The narration was so, so good, I eagerly anticipated every word.

As there have been a few of these secret Paris apartment stories in the last 5-6 years, I’m sure you can guess the provenance of where the art came from, but as I said above, the way Karen Swan delivered this information, keeping the story contemporary and current, was a different take on the story that I really enjoyed. I also loved the tension-filled scenes between Flora and Xavier, as well as Flora’s investigation across the European continent. She was a strong, intelligent heroine, and I really liked her. I highly recommend this novel and if you have the time please try the audiobook. Lucy Price-Lewis did an amazing job and made me want to travel to France again sometime soon. Ooh-La-La!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link and purchase this book!* The Paris Secret: A Novel

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith

Indie rock star, Greta James, breaks down on stage after the death of her mother, the world catching it on camera and making her grief go viral. Pushing back the launch of her sophomore album, Greta takes her mothers place on a 40th anniversary cruise to Alaska with her father, a man that she loves but that she’s always had a rocky relationship. Maybe this trip will help bridge the gap and keep her from losing both of her parents. While cruising she meets Ben Wilder, a guest speaker about a novel he’s written based upon The Call of the Wild. Ben is also going through personal loss, his broken marriage and missing his two little girls. In each other they find something that connects them and may help them overcome their trauma.

I have read two other books by this author and have loved them all. She balances drama and happiness so deftly and takes me on a journey that stays with me for awhile. Greta was an interesting character. Her first love is playing the guitar and everything in her life has taken a back seat to her commitment to be the best. Her father has spent her life worrying that she is choosing something that is doomed to bring her heartbreak, and despite her success he can’t help but lecture and push her to take a safer route. It’s actually kind of sweet if you think about it, but super frustrating as well. When she meets Ben, he becomes a safe place for her to escape from her complicated emotions surrounding her mother’s death and her feelings for her father but as the days pass she realizes that he is going through his own mixed up life and their vacation romance may be just that.

One of my favorite side characters is a young girl on the ship who idolizes Greta. She makes a great contrast to where Greta was in her childhood and where she is now in her own life. By helping this girl with her own guitar playing she gives her something that she never received in return. I thought that was a really neat circle of life moment that tied the drama in the book together really well and added moments of joy that I can’t say were missing but were only sprinkled sparingly through the book. It’s funny how having those brighter moments makes the contrast that much greater, isn’t it?

This was a very well planned, well executed novel. I really need to go back and read through Jennifer E. Smith’s backlog of books. I bet there are quite a few other nuggets of gold to be discovered.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Mr. Wrong Number

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Getting Clean With Stevie Green by Swan Huntley

Stevie Green has spent the last 20 years moving around the country, moving from one bar to another, having one night stands and running from her past. When her mother calls and asks for her help packing up her house and moving, Stevie heads home. She reinvents herself and starts a decluttering business and with her sisters help pursues being number one. As she declutters others lives she faces a few facts about her life, sexuality, and that horrible item from her past that she’s spent the last 20 years not forgetting.

For all of you who like to know about triggers, this one has a bunch of them. Be warned there is alcoholism, suicide, sex, and a quirky family. OK, maybe the quirky family isn’t a trigger for everyone, but it is for me! 🙂 Stevie is a 37 year old who does not have her act together at all, but she’s great at faking it, until, well, she doesn’t anymore.

Despite all the things distracting Stevie in this novel, or maybe because of all the things that were distracting in this novel, it was a quick read. I found Stevie to be sad, funny, and desperate to have a normal life and have someone normal to love her. That last is what makes her so identifiable. I am nothing like Stevie Green and yet before I found it, I yearned for that special someone. In Stevie’s case she wasn’t sure if that someone was a man or a woman.

This was a very fast moving novel about a woman who was facing her past while at the same time facing who she was in the present. I thought it was a really different style of book than my normal read and realized that sometimes it’s good to read outside that box. Getting Clean with Stevie Green was quirky, funny, and moving and I thought it was pretty darned good! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Getting Clean With Stevie Green

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

This novel is on a TON of must read lists and after reading it I can totally see why. Katrina and Nathan wrote a best selling romance together three years ago but haven’t talked since. They are contracted to write one more book together, something that Nathan really needs since his solo novel isn’t doing well. Katrina had retired from writing but agrees to write this last novel. Through flashbacks we learn what happened three years ago at the same time as they are working on their current book and the reader can’t help but root for these two best friends who had lost their way and may (or may not) find the path back to each other.

Normally flashbacks drive me crazy. I’m a person who likes to be in the hear and now and I like the same thing from the stories I read. However, the use of the flashbacks parallel where the characters are in the story and help drive both the characters and readers feelings back and forth. It was deftly done, and being manipulated has never felt so good. I honestly wasn’t sure if Katrina and Nathan would ever have anything but another great book written by the two of them.

One of the things I liked the most about this novel was the back and forth between tension filled scenes in current time, then a flashback to explain where the two characters were in their relationship during the writing of their last book. I also loved how despite the tension, they were awed equally by each others talent, and they read each other’s moves and reactions so well. It was fascinating to see their love story being written…twice.

I’m a big fan of this writing duo and am glad that they’re branching out into the adult genre. Their talent is in giving their characters thought-provoking feelings and then acting on them, sometimes to the detriment of themselves. Something we all do in real life. Kat and Nathan were no different than you and I in how they’ve made mistakes and either ignored or fixed them. This relatability is a big reason why the story works so well. There is something in both of them that I can see in myself, and I don’t think I’ll be the only reader to think this. Don’t let 2022 go by without reading The Roughest Draft, I have a feeling that it will land on my best of 2022 list, and it’s only January.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Roughest Draft

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Love for Beginners (Wildstone #7) by Jill Shalvis

Emma Harris wakes up from a coma and learns that her best friend and her fiancé are now a couple, she broken most of the bones in her body, and her insurance bills are adding up. The doctors told her that she’d never walk again but with the help of her physical therapist she is finally able to move out of her apartment that she shares with her ex-BFF and into her own place. No one will hire her because she hasn’t had a job in a year when the pet store that she trains dogs in goes up for sale. Unable to get a loan she ends up with an unlikely partner. Her frenemy from high school, and Simon’s cousin, Ali Pratt. Love for Beginners is a tale about perseverance, falling in love, and making new friends.

Emma, as the main protagonist, was completely likable and easy to root for. Out jogging when hit by a car seems like pretty bad luck but it brought the delicious physical therapist, Simon into her life and it changed her from a person who may have let people walk on her to learning to have a backbone and to stand up for herself. Something she probably should have done a long time ago. I loved her inner voice that always reminded her that she wasn’t the old Emma but the new Emma 2.0. Her budding romance with Simon while lacking heat (at least for me) did help Emma grow as a character. I looked at it as part of her healing process. Sex with hot PT- check! Of course, there were feelings involved but their romance wasn’t really what this novel was about. It was about Emma’s challenges and how she was facing them.

Ali’s story was secondary but I found it just as interesting. She too needed to grow but it was in the reverse of Emma. From an early age Ali has put a wall up, not letting anyone get close. She always considered Emma a rival. Probably because from the outside Emma’s life seemed charmed but just like what you see on Facebook, nothing is as it seems on the surface. Their partnership allowed them both to see the other side of each other. I thought Jill Shalvis did a good job of showing the growth of a female friendship!

I’m a big fan of Jill Shalvis’ novels. She always writes great secondary character and/or groups of friends that you always want to get to know. Love for Beginners was no different. I do wish the romance had brought a little more sizzle to the page but upon reflection it kind of fit. Simon had his own story that made him a little distant too. Luckily, he had Emma and his cousin Ali to help him work through his emotions and give him a kick in the butt.

If you’re in the mood for a good friendship novel I think Love for Beginners is certainly that. If you want a romance, there is some of that too but I really feel like that was secondary to all of the other stories that were being told in this novel. It wasn’t what I expected but I did like it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Love for Beginners: A Novel (The Wildstone Series Book 7)

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: Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes by Alexa Martin

Jude and Lauren have been best friends since the third grade and despite their differences they are always there to support the other when times get rough. Usually they both don’t hit rock bottom at the same time. After Lauren’s fiancé leaves her and their daughter, Lauren’s confidence takes a hit, but she stays strong for her daughter Adelaide wanting to show her that a strong woman can achieve anything. Jude is also going through some family issues. Since her father died her mom has gone off the deep end and Jude’s been floating her money, not knowing how to deal with this new situation. Needing each other’s strength, Lauren (and Adelaide!) and Jude move in together. Together they start a podcast about being single, raising a daughter, and dating building a brand that strikes a chord with their listeners. They just wish that real life were as funny as their podcast portrays, but despite life’s challenges the strength of their friendship will help pull them through it all.

A novel about friendship, love, and family? Sold! I’m a huge fan Alexa Martin’s NFL romance series, Playbook, and while this novel is not a romance there is plenty of love to be had on its pages. The friendship between Jude and Lauren is the kind of friendship that women dream of and probably rarely ever get. It defies all of life’s changes, marriage, and children. Jude is Lauren’s biggest fan and the feeling is absolutely returned. Of course, there is a lot of conflict in this novel as well, but just as in a romance, these ladies do get their happily ever after.

Who is my favorite character in this novel? Adelaide, of course! This five year old little girl has an old soul and enough sass to fill a swimming pool! Her character was such fun to read and added some much needed humor to the drama. I totally want Adelaide to star in her own young adult, new adult, and adult contemporary novels. She was a hoot!

I love how Alexa Martin shares her perspective through her characters. Her romance novel couples were of mixed race, and this lady friendship is between a white woman and black woman and Jude’s character speaks to the things she’s learned about racial inequality and how her best friend Lauren has been treated in her life. Jude is a mouthy white woman who doesn’t have a problem calling out injustices on behalf of her friend, despite Lauren not wanting to bring attention to them herself. This is a fictional novel but that doesn’t mean that the reader can’t learn by what the characters go through. Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes had many such moments.

If, like me, you are a fan of Alexa Martin’s you’ll probably pick up this novel. If you’ve never heard of Alexa Martin I think you will enjoy reading this story about overcoming obstacles while having a good friend by your side. These characters were easy to identify with, root for and love, plus there’s Adelaide, the star of the book. LOL!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes

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: The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

June Jones is content working as a library’s assistant in her villages local branch when it’s threatened with being shuttered. Although the funds have been dwindling and it’s a bit shabby, this library is the home away from home not just for June but also for other villagers who need a place to gather. Never having left the small boundaries of her village June is distraught on behalf of the village but mostly on behalf of herself, who’s memories of her own mother are tied to the books in this building. The shy June must decide what’s more important, living with her mothers memories, or fighting this shut down and making new memories of her own.

Set in a quiet English village, June seems to be your typical quiet librarian. More at peace with books than with people. As this novel moves forward the reader see’s June as the villagers see her, the tie that binds her villagers together. I was pleasantly surprised by how moved I was by this novel. I thought I knew what I would be reading but as June dared to live outside the quiet comforts she knew the pages filled with color and emotion.

If this novel were only about June it may have been a typical story about a girl who likes to escape through a good book. Instead it was about June’s relationships with the people in her village and how her kindness helped them through their own trials throughout the years. Giving book advice, tutoring a high school student, teaching an older man to read, there were many facets of June that we don’t initially see. Each new light shone through a different character that was introduced and I have to admit there were some pretty outstanding characters that helped June shine so bright.

The Last Chance Library’s pace started off slow but as I got immersed in the story it quickly quickened. I found that sleepy English villages can be pretty exciting, or at least they can when the villagers decide to rise up. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Last Chance Library

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: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Alex and Poppy met in college and struck up a unique friendship. Nothing alike, they balanced each other out and became a support system that they each needed. As they grew older and life moved them further apart they kept up the tradition they started in college of taking a summer vacation together. Summer’s that were the bright spot of their year until something happened two years ago and they haven’t spoken since. Until one night when Poppy texted a message, “Hey”.

Last year’s Beach Read was in my Top 5 best books of the year so I had really high expectations for People We Meet on Vacation. While it didn’t touch the right note that Beach Read hit (right time to read, right mood, etc.) it was still an outstandingly good book and will again be placed in my Top 10 at least so far this year. The awkward nerdy-hot Alex, and the retro-dressed outgoing yet insecure Poppy were both from the same home town and although they didn’t know each other growing up immediately clicked on a long drive home for winter break. Their friendship came fast and solid. Alex was non judgmental about her unique family and she jokingly picked and prodded Alex out of his multiple comfort zones. They had different goals in life and supported each others dreams, to the detriment of their own feelings. When their summer vacation went awry two years ago causing a rift the reader see’s through Poppy’s perspective and feels how deeply disturbed she’s been despite not knowing exactly what happened. By the time she typed ‘Hey’ I was all in on their relationship becoming something more secure and felt the desperation Poppy was feeling that kept me on the emotional edge of my seat wishing for their happiness.

The clever use of flashbacks of Poppy and Alex’s vacations means that we knew Alex just as well by the time that fateful text was made. I was caught hook, line, and sinker and there was no way I wasn’t going to finish this story, needing to know where Poppy and Alex stood at the end. As we lived through what might be their last summer vacation together (after all life moves forward despite our relationships and feelings) I teetered between tears and laughter, caught in their emotional drama. Emily Henry really knows how to craft friendship novels fraught with emotional crisis.

People We Meet on Vacation was just as good as last year’s Beach Read so why did I score it a half rating less? I really think it was the fact that in Beach Read the characters lives before their story started together had the drama whereas in this novel the drama was created by these two characters. It’s a very small detail and truthfully it was used very effectively. I just liked how I felt while reading Beach Read much better than I did while reading People We Meet on Vacation. Reading is all about your own perspective being stamped upon the story you are reading. I was a half rating short of being in the perfect mood to read this book. That’s it. No other reason, it was really just as good. In fact, I’ll probably pick it up in audio to live through their relationship again. If my feelings change about the rating, I’ll let you know!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* People We Meet on Vacation

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: Falling in Luck by Mary Ann Marlowe

Mallory Pech thinks she’s cursed by bad luck. Her best friend Benji Chance thinks there is no such thing as bad luck, you make your own. When Jean-Luc Chevalier, the very charming and gorgeous son of her company’s CEO comes to New York on a business trip Mallory crushes hard and is determined to catch his eye. Surprisingly this time she does! When he proposes a marriage of convenience Mallory decides to seize the day and joins him back in Paris for a 30 day trial run. The only problem is that she misses her best friend dreadfully, and Jean-Luc’s family is not like she imagined from their picture on Instagram. Could it be that she was never unlucky at love and her hearts desire was in front of her the whole time?

Despite knowing where this story was going right from the get-go I thought Falling in Luck was a lot of fun. Mallory was funny and sweet, if not a little naivé about a few things, but I over-looked them because I love a good redemption romance and she and Benji were just too cute for words and I wanted their HEA . The only down-side is that Benji spent a lot of the novel on the other side of the pond while Mallory was in over her head in Paris.

It would have been so easy to write this novel so the reader would hate Jean-Luc, but he was French, good looking, and charming and obviously had a soft spot for the terminally klutzy Mallory. I mean I’m surprised this girl didn’t walk in front of a bus in Paris while looking the wrong way! Jean-Luc, while having a lot of his own problems stuck by her and was her savior so I, of course, couldn’t hate him. However, their coupledom was doomed from the start and I’ll admit I was a little antzy to get to the real romance. When was Benji going to come after Mallory? Ultimately he arrived, but I would’ve been a little happier if it had happened sooner.

Ms. Marlowe has always written great characters and I loved Mallory, Benji, and Jean-Luc as well as the other cast of characters in the book. Like I said previously, they were all so easy to like but it was apparent from the start who the hero was going to be in this story despite the two charming men vying for our obtuse, sweet, Mallory. I’m all for self-discovery novels (and boy did Mallory need to find herself) but I was in the mood for romance and there’s no place like Paris for taking that next step towards love. Ah Amour! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this ARC from the author for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* Falling in Luck

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.