It’s Monday, what are you reading? (10/11/21)

Last week was a busy one with three ARC’s (Advanced Reader Copy) due so my reading choices were not my own. Well, technically I did sign up for those reviews, but it’s always nice to read because you feel like reading, not because you have to read something because you said you would. I’m sure you all feel the same way. So without have a clock ticking on my reading habits, what did I do? I read ahead to an ARC that’s due on 10/19. LOL. To be fair this was a book where I like the series and was looking forward to reading the most recent book, so it wasn’t really a hardship. Let’s catch up! Here are the books being checked off my TBR.

JUST FINISHED

I’m drawn to this series because they are lighthearted romances set in a little town that puts on an annual Renaissance festival. Well Met was the first book and I loved it. I’ve gotten to know these characters so I’m pretty invested even though books 2 and 3 have not been quite as good as the first. Well Matched was Mitch’s story and I was curious how it would play out. You’ll have to read my review to find out!

JUST STARTED

This novel was written in 2019 and has been on my library TBR since I saw a blogger write about it. I like to read young adult books occasionally for a change of pace and this story about a deaf high school student who moves across country and has to go to school in a regular school sounded like it might broaden my horizons a little. I, too have a small hearing problem, and while I am not deaf, just hearing impaired, I enjoy reading true representation stories and am curious to see how she learns to navigate high school life with this kind of challenge. I just started it and will add it to my review. Stay tuned!

This week is going to have its own challenges and having a good book waiting for me at home helps me get through the long days. Do you feel the same? Which book is waiting for you to pick it up after a long day at work?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Book Releases- October’21

I thought I did a great job of picking a mix of books from my favorite genre’s; Contemporary romances, young adult, and fantasy. I have to admit that I had to reach pretty deep into Goodreads most popular books list to find five books. Only one YA but it looks to be a good one! Here are the books that made my list.

#5 BOOK RELEASE

I love romances that include baked goods. It’s a great way to avoid calories. Well, now that I think about it maybe not because I usually want to bake after reading one. This book looks very cute. I like the premise and am looking forward to seeing how these characters connect. Jackie Lau is a new author for me and I’m hoping for great things!

Synopsis:

Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After years of constant work and the sudden death of his mother, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn’t know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum.

Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees.

As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.

Click this link to purchase!* Donut Fall in Love

#4 BOOK RELEASE

This young adult novel is a Lambda Award winner and the premise sounds like there may be a surprise twist. I look forward to seeing if that’s the case. The synopsis totally grabbed me. What do you think?

Synopsis:

In rural Kentucky, a sixteen-year-old boy with a love of quilting, cooking and Dolly Parton helps his grandma care for his opioid-addicted mother, until the discovery of a family secret upends everything he has ever believed.

While other sixteen-year-old boys in Morgan, Kentucky, love hunting and football, Kody prefers to spend his time quilting with his grandmother (“Nanny”), watching Golden Girls reruns, and listening to old Dolly Parton albums. Nanny is Kody’s main caregiver, but it takes both Nanny and Kody to take care of Kody’s mother, whose drug problem is spinning out of control. Between looking after Mommy and trying to survive in a place that doesn’t look kindly on feminine boys, Kody already has a hard time making sense of his life. But then he uncovers a family secret that will change everything in his life.

Click this link to purchase!* Needlework

#3 BOOK RELEASE

I read the first novel in this series about a magician competition. This book picks up right where the first left off with a mystery. Our main character disappeared into a mirror? Is she ok? Will our hero find her?

Synopsis:

In Janella Angeles’s When Night Breaks, the dramatic last act of the Kingdom of Cards duology, the stage is set, the spectacle awaits… and the show must finally come to an end.

The competition has come to a disastrous end, and Daron Demarco’s fall from grace is front-page news. But little matters to him beyond Kallia, the contestant he fell for who is now missing and in the hands of a dangerous magician. Daron is willing to do whatever it takes to find her. Even if it means unearthing secrets that lead him on a treacherous journey, risking more than his life and with no promise of return.

After falling through the mirror, Kallia has never felt more lost, mourning everything she left behind and the boy she can’t seem to forget. Only Jack, the magician who has all the answers but can’t be trusted, remains at her side. Together, they must navigate a dazzling world where mirrors show memories and illusions shadow every corner, ruled by a powerful showman who’s been waiting for Kallia to finally cross his stage. But beneath the glamour of dueling headliners and never-ending revelry, a sinister force falls like night over everyone, with the dark promise of more—more power beyond Kallia’s wildest imagination, and at a devastating cost.

The truth will come out, a kingdom must fall, hearts will collide.

And the show must finally come to an end.

Click this link to purchase!* When Night Breaks (Kingdom of Cards Book 2)

#2 BOOK RELEASE

There’s always a surprise or two when I got through the list and this month, Well Matched, is my surprise book. I’ve read the first two in the series and didn’t know this one was coming out this month. This renaissance faire themed series has been great to date. I’m expecting great things from this novel!

Synopsis:

A pretend relationship gives two friends more than they bargained for in a Renaissance Faire rom com filled with flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell. 

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire—a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship. 

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…and it doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans—and open her heart—for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.

Click this link to purchase!* Well Matched

MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE!

Margaret Rogerson has a beautiful style of writing and I’m eagerly anticipating picking up what sounds to be a little bit of a darker themed novel. As usual her cover is gorgeous and it certainly makes you want to pick it up and read the synopsis doesn’t it? The past two novels had a hint of romance which I’m hoping this does as well!

Synopsis:

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

Click this link to purchase!* Vespertine

What did you think about my picks this month? Are there any titles you’re also surprised by? What did I miss? Please let me know in the comments.

Have a great month of reading everyone!

Deb

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

This Chick Read: Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

Finding out her entire life is a lie, Meg Hennessey leaves the safety of the town she has grown up with to take a trip up north to meet the family she never knew she had. On her first day in town she meets Micah Allen, son of an ex-pastor who is now in prison. The two strike up a friendship having more in common than first thought. Both are struggling to find themselves and reconnect with their faith that they feel betrayed them. Instead they find a connection that helps them find solace at the same time makes them question the ways they were brought up even more.

Never Saw You Coming is an apt title for a story that I truly did not see coming. Equal parts YA Contemporary and Christian fiction Meg and Micah’s story opened my eyes to a community that was supposed to be about support but instead seemed restrictive, especially towards women. Meg was brought up in a strictly religious household. Her church taught their girls to not catch the eye of a boy, wear clothing that covered their skin, and to keep themselves pure for God and their future husband. When she found out her mother got pregnant when she was a teenager with someone she met from youth group (who died shortly after) and her “father” was her mom’s best friend, all of that strict upbringing seemed totally hypocritical. Instead of taking her gap year like she had decided Meg drives upstate to visit her real dad’s family and see if she can make a connection to them and to her lost faith.

I don’t usually read Christian fiction. Well, I don’t go looking for it anyway but have been pleasantly surprised by a few novels in the past. Never Saw You Coming hit me like a freight train. Meg had this innocence from her sheltered upbringing that brought a joy to the decisions she made when she got to Marquette. When she meets her great-grandmother and uncle she brings to their lives that same joy, and it’s not surprising that she wants to delve into that relationship a bit more. Meg was also homeschooled and didn’t have a ton of friends so is pleased that she seems to have no trouble making friends in Marquette. Especially making friends with Micah who she shyly finds attractive.

Meg and Micah are both secure in their relationship with God, but they aren’t as secure in the way that faith seems to be addressed through Church. This is a topic that is deeply explored in this novel and which, truthfully, opened my eyes. I found this look into their faith fascinating and was really pleased with how the characters explored their questions, rejecting some attitudes, and accepting others. It seemed a realistic viewpoint and although I was a little horrified at how this religion treated Meg, I was pleased with how the men in her life stepped forward claiming that treatment unacceptable. (Thank goodness!)

As with other Erin Hahn novels, I really enjoyed this story! She is a truly talented author and while this topic isn’t my usual I could tell that it meant something to the author and I’m glad she told this story as I think it needed to be told. I’m a bit older than her target demographic but I think this is a message that was well told and needs to be heard. I will definitely be keeping an eye for this author’s next novel as she is quickly becoming a go to author for me. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Never Saw You Coming: 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.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (9/6/21)

A long holiday weekend makes it easy to set aside time to read. I set myself up with a difficult task of reading and reviewing four books that all come out on the same day. How did I do that?!! Three down and one to go thank goodness. I’m doing much better than I thought I would. If you live in the US and had the extra day off this weekend I hope you’re enjoying it with a good book as well!

JUST FINISHED

I’ve read this author’s previous two novels and thought I new her style but I was really surprised by the switch from YA contemporary to YA Christian (is that a genre?). This was definitely more religious than I’d normally pick out for myself but I let myself sink into the story and the message this author wanted to tell and really LOVED it. Please look for my review this week.

JUST STARTED

This is the last ARC for the four books I needed to read and review that are out next week. This looks like a fun, light story which is why I left this one for last. I haven’t yet started it but I think this will be what I’m reading on my day off today.

Are you on holiday this weekend as well? Or are you looking forward to getting off from work and getting back to that great book you started this weekend? Either way, I hope your book is a good one and brings you much joy!

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chicks Audio Review: Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter

What if the life you were currently living wasn’t your only life? Tenley Lockwood has been sent to the Prynne Asylum, a prison for those kids who have not chosen who to spend there Everlife, Troika or Myriad. To factions who need to build their armies and who are fighting for control over the Everlife. Ten has a fascination with numbers and both Troika and Myriad are convinced that she holds the key in their war for dominance in the Everlife. They send two handlers to help convince her to choose their faction and she becomes close with both of them. As they fight to keep her alive and give her the chance to choose before her Firstlife ends she makes some discoveries about both that make her decision hard. A decision that may disappoint the one she loves.

Firstlife was a non-stop action adventure novel that luckily was easy to follow. Ten was the person that both factions believed they needed to gain dominance over the other. The reader was told the reason but other than surviving a bunch of attempts on her life she didn’t really show the reason why she was that special. She was pretty obstinate in not letting anyone push her to make a decision before she was ready, despite the life and death action that was going on around her. I’m going to guess we find out about her abilities a little more in the second novel? At least I hope so.

As with many YA fantasy novels, Ten is helped by two young men, both of whom she becomes close with but unlike the typical YA trope, only one she falls for. Without spoiling her choice I will say that she doesn’t let her feelings sway her decision on who the best faction may be for her which was pretty refreshing!

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and it was narrated by two people, Emma Galvin and Zachary Webber. I am familiar with Zachary Webber’s work and per usual he was awesome. Emma Galvin read from Tenley’s point of view which was the majority of the story and I thought she did a great job of displaying all of the emotions this character felt while being chased through the majority of this book. A tough read, for sure!

I am a huge fan of fantasy novels and have had this series on my TBR for awhile. I really enjoyed the narration and if you have the time would recommend your giving this book a try. If you read it instead of listen, I’d imagine the action would speed your reading along quite quickly. You’ll be surprised at how much this character goes through. It was kind of exhausting!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase! Firstlife (An Everlife 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.

Friday YA: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Halle has two personalities. Well, not really, but she does have two persona’s. She is everyday Halle who is going to start another new high school, this time while staying with her grandfather in Connecticut. She is also Kels who runs an online blog where she pairs cupcakes with book covers. Kels is much more bold and doesn’t have trouble expressing her thoughts and opinions and has a ton of online friends, including her best friend Nash. When Halle and her brother move in with her gramps and get ready to start school Halle comes face to face with her friend Nash except she doesn’t tell him that she’s Kels. She has every class with him and gets invited to sit with he and his friends at lunch and she’s terrified he will find out and be mad. Is it possible to have a love triangle when two of the people are yourself?

As a book blogger I thought One True Pastry and it’s concept totally cute. I loved the underlying story about the loss of her grandmother and how differently people handle grief. I thought Nash was adorable but thought Halle’s constant rejection of him painful. Of course, I was supposed to feel this way but if I were him I wouldn’t given up on her a long time ago. I loved her brother and his confused bi-sexuality and how to her he was just her brother regardless of how he identified. I liked Halle more than Kels because she had depth and wasn’t one dimensional like Kels. What I hated was the bashing back and forth of who should read YA. This one genre, of them all seems to have a reader identity crisis and this author tied into that. I thought it an interesting dialog within what should have been just another teen contemporary romance. It’s a dialog without a conclusion in real life, but it ran its course on these pages.

There is a reason to read ya novels, especially in the contemporary romance sub-genre. They are a quick escape from whatever is bothering you and typically contain very little depth. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of depth I found in What I Like About You. It held my interest and made me slow down and think. Think about loss, recovery, faith, best friends, love, friendship and family. What I Like About You was particularly insightful and despite my age being outside the target demo (come on, I had to say it!) I enjoyed it very much.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* What I Like About You

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: Sixteen Scandals by Sophie Jordan

Primrose is the youngest of four daughters. She has finally reached the age of sixteen, the age when she would have her “coming out”, she is told by her mother that it would be delayed until her older sister is betrothed. Her older sister is in her third season and doesn’t look motivated to find a match. Upset at this surprise announcement Prim decides to sneak out with her best friend to Vauxhall Gardens the veritable den of sin. When she gets separated from her friend a handsome young man comes to her rescue. As they search through the gardens looking for Olympia, they enjoy the sights and each other.

What a fun novel! It was a light, enjoyable story and Primrose with her sass and intelligence was an easy heroine to like. I can’t imagine being a young woman during this time in history. You have no rights, you are either at the will of your parents or of your husband. So this one night of rebellion might be all Primrose will have of freedom, unless she finds the right man who will be her partner in crime, which in this case she did. Primrose was the right combination of naiveté and intelligence and this illicit adventure rang true despite it being essentially a teen romance. This time it was a sixteen year old girl who snared the Duke. Not as awful as it sounds as he was only 19 himself.

I have a fondness for historical romances and Sixteen Scandals fit the bill. What made this book different for me was that it was a YA historical romance, so it was rated PG-13 but also that the author provided diversity in its characters. Prim’s best friend Olympia had ‘light brown skin’ and beautiful dark, curly hair but she was also (slight spoiler) gay, as was one of Prim’s sisters. I liked this small difference from other historical novels and hope these changes continue in this genre. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Sixteen Scandals

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: Smash It! by Francina Simone

Liv is tired of being afraid to take chances and after showing up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts and a hoodie she decides to go for it, have experiences, and change her life! First up is trying out for the school play, a hip-hop version of Othello. Scared to death, her two best friends Dré and Eli, also try out and the drama begins. Having two boys for best friends has led Liv to make the safe choices but when a cute boy in the play asks her out, she risks it all. How will this affect her feelings for her two friends? You’re going to have to read this charming un-putdown-able novel.

I’m not even lying. I stayed up until 1am on a work night reading this book. How Liv feels about herself is so relatable to 90% of the female population. She thinks she’s overweight, has bad hair, and isn’t cute when she’s the complete opposite! She’s fun, funny, a kick butt singer, can dance, is curvy, and should be a self confident young woman. When she tries out for this play and says yes to her first date a whole new world opens before her and her two friends take notice!

What can I say about Eli and Dré? They were totally different from each other, had real problems that added a nice bit of conflict to the story, and both loved Liv to death. Their friendship was one of my favorite things about this book, and despite their lives changing as they got older, they could all rely on each other. To a point. But what would a story be without a little drama, right?

This was a totally fun book, that felt real. I didn’t feel like a middle aged woman reading a teen novel. I felt like these kids anxiety’s are what people of any age feel on a daily basis. Their stories were relatable, their triangle was interesting, and each of their story arc’s read true. Despite your own age, Smash It! is a book that needs to be read. It may make you look differently at your own life, but if not, it will at least entertain you with their’s. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Smash It!

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

* Amazon Associate- if you buy this book through the above link I may make a small stipend.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (9/21/2020)

I did get a good bit of reading in this last week despite a crazy work week and some more birthday shenanigans at home. In my family all of my siblings, my husband and my mother’s birthdays are within six weeks of each other so we seem to have a party almost every weekend. (Yes, socially distanced, we all live together!) Let’s catch you up on what I’ve been up to!

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 read this series but saw the audiobooks up for sale and picked them up. I’ve been enjoying them all again, wrapping up with the third, Wayfarer’s Keep. This author writes so well and keeps me entirely entertained!

JUST STARTED

I love books about young women finding their power. I’m curious to see how she uses her new found confidence! This one is off to a quick start and I like the author’s voice so far!

Now that you know what I’m up to, catch me up on the books on your nightstand!

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chick Read: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Taking place in the same neighborhood as The Hate You Give, wanna be rapper Bri, lives the dream of stardom in the hopes of helping her family’s circumstances. Following in her fathers footsteps in the Garden means walking between two worlds, gang and the Ring. Her father’s life ended early, being shot down by a rival gang but Bri is determined not to live that life despite living her dream of becoming a rapper.

Angie Thomas, through her storytelling again successfully gives the reader a look into two different worlds. Bri, lives in the Garden, her aunt a member of a gang, and her mother a recovering junkie, but the author gives us a contrasting look into what their lives can be. Bri’s brother has a college education and only comes back to live in the Garden to help support his family. Bri, herself, is bussed to a high school in a better area and doesn’t seek a life in the Garden and in fact is working really hard in trying to get her family out of it. The conflict in this novel comes from her being a teenager, and like a lot of teens, she doesn’t make the best choices. Her mouth often gets her into trouble and because of the color of her skin she’s racially profiled and treated pretty harshly by those in power around her.

“No matter where I’m at, keep an eye for police.

If they thinkin’ I’m suspicious, they ain’t trying to listen.

They’ll unload those mags, make me a hashtag.”

The poetry in Bri’s rapping tells a story of what her life is like, what it may look like, and what she hope’s it will look like. The story within this poetry was just as moving and eye opening as the story within the novel.

Bri’s Aunt Pooh, as a member of the GD’s takes on the role of protector and manager to Bri. One a role she’s willing to take on with a gun, the other a role she’s unsure how to maneuver. I thought her story in On The Come Up created the perfect contrast to Bri’s own struggle, as well as being the perfect example of why she wants to get out of that life so desperately.

Once I got into the rhythm of On the Come Up, I really enjoyed this story, and rooted for Bri to find her identity in a way that didn’t alter who she could be and even more importantly would want to be in the future. I loved her choice at the end of this book, it fit her character, and it made me want to read more and see her story continue. That’s the best way to end a book, isn’t it? ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* On the Come Up

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.