What We’re Reading — Jan 2024

Anne here, with our regular end-of-the-month post about the books we’ve read and enjoyed in the last month. This is a favorite post with Wenches and readers alike, as we share and discuss the books we have enjoyed.

We start with Christina, on Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood.

Christina says:  I’ve loved all Ms Hazelwood’s books before this one and was excited to read her latest. It was good and I liked it, but not as much as the others. The heroine, Mallory, is not a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) one as in previous stories, although she is clearly intelligent and gifted in a different way to other people. Her super-power, as it were, is chess. Her father was a Grand Master and he taught her from a young age, but when he betrayed her mother and left the family, Mallory stopped playing. Anything to do with chess was simply too painful and she feels guilty because she was the one who alerted her mother to the fact that her dad was cheating, thus breaking up the family.

Four years later, she is once again drawn into the world of chess (against her will but forced by circumstances as she needs money) and meets enigmatic World Champion Nolan. Their relationship is difficult, but the attraction between them is undeniable. They are both keeping secrets, however, and the path to true love does not run smooth.

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A Christmas Carol

title page of A Christmas CarolPat Rice here:

A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite Charles Dickens’ books. I know it’s been made into dozens of movies and has a million editions. I did not know that he was so fussy about how the first edition was printed that he barely made any money on it, even though it was published December 19 and sold out by Christmas. I cannot possibly give you all the fascinating historical information about this beloved tale. Some interesting tidbits here: https://www.arts.gov/stories/blog/2020/ten-things-know-about-charles-dickens-christmas-carol

Hope you had a lovely Christmas and Scrooge turns nice in the new year for you!

What We’re Reading in October

Some of it was realNicola here, introducing the ever-popular Wenches monthly round up of what we've been reading. As always, our virtual shelves are groaning beneath the weight of recommendations and we hope you will share your reads with us – and add to the TBR pile! – as well as enjoy some of the books we're talking about. October is the perfect time to curl up with a good book, so without further ado, let's dive in!

Anne here. The standout read for me in October was Some of it Was Real, by Nan Fischer. It’s a contemporary, and though there’s a relationship, it’s not really a romance. Sylvie Young is a psychic-medium, a rising star on the verge of having her own TV show. Thomas Holmes is a journalist looking to resurrect his failing career by writing a story exposing her as a fraud. Thomas doesn’t believe in Sylvie’s “powers” and calls people like her “grief vampires” who prey on people’s distress.

Mysteries surround Sylvie’s early childhood. Adopted at the age of six, she has no memories of the time before that — and what little she does remember is fractured, comes in dreams, or sparks panic attacks. Sylvie decides to take Thomas on a journey with her to discover what they can about her past. She hopes he will learn to accept and believe in her powers — even though she’s not entirely confident of them, and augments them with research about her audience — which she calls “forming bridges”. It’s a complicated situation. And Thomas is determined to prove her a fraud.

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What We Are Reading!

BookishLifeAnne: I’ve had a wonderful reading month, with two books set in bookshops, and a new-to-me favorite historical romance author with a fabulous backlist.
 
First the bookshop books, both about young (ish) single women who work in bookshops, and both relatively content with their single lives, though in each book there is a tentative but developing romance. And both women are dealing with unexpected family connections.
 
In The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman Nina is shocked to discover the father she knew nothing about — not even his name — has died and left her not only something in the will, but a large extended family. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is full of wonderful, wry and funny observations about people and life in LA and I found myself (for the first time ever) bookmarking passages I especially enjoyed. Abbi Waxman’s writing is clever and original and thoroughly enjoyable.

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What We’re Reading!

Christina here and it’s time for our monthly roundup of what we’ve been reading! As always, we have a very varied selection and hope you will find something you like the sound of. And please add to our must-have lists in the comments below by letting us know what you have enjoyed as well. We’ve got our credit cards at the ready!

We’re starting off with Patricia:-

Space JunkSPACE JUNK: HOUSTON, WE HAVE A HOTTIE by Sara L. Hudson. I wasn’t going to report on this one because it’s half hot sex, so I skimmed a whole lot. The sex scenes were fine. I’m just not interested. But the book’s premise and some of the scenes stuck with me, so I thought maybe there are others out there who might be as amused as I was. Jackie is a genius PhD working for NASA. She was always too young for the people around her and the only time she got into the dating scene, she got burned. So she wears her geek glasses and Chucks and pays no attention to where she lives or what she drives. Until she meets Flynn. He’s a college graduate millionaire who decided to be a mechanic, and her geekiness completely turns him on. She doesn’t know who he is and doesn’t care, but she loves that he teaches her to hot wire cars. She loves his mid-century modern house and his cool muscle cars. What is really fascinating is the detail the book goes into about NASA and astronauts—in a romcom! The characterization is entertaining, and there is obviously room for lots more books in the series. Excellent writing, good humor, hot sex … if that’s your bag, go for it!

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