Cover Image: Chick Magnet

Chick Magnet

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Member Reviews

This is the second book in the past few months where I have read a book where chickens are in some way a part of the story. I really liked this one! Will and Nic are very well rounded characters and I liked them both. I loved how their relationship progressed and I loved that it wasn't insta-love. It is definitely a grumpy/sunshine type of story, but the fact that he was in therapy and still so self sabotaging was hard for me to believe. I now therapy does not work overnight, but this story was over a period of time and it seems like his therapist did not work. Nic was a lovely character and I really liked her story. Her situation with her ex was well written and was a great way in representing this type of emotional abuse. The ending was a little rushed for me and I am not a fan about how easily she forgave rose, her best friend of 20 years, who believed her ex over her. I think the ending could of had more to it and not been an all of a sudden thing. I also wish the town was more in it. Overall though I would recommend it, but give warning that Covid has a very important part of this story.

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🐣🐔Original twist to an age-old dilemma with chickens!🐓

4.5🌟 stars
Chick Magnet features an issue siblings frequently face but told in a refreshing way. I was impressed by author Emma Barry's small-town romance and particularly her handling of Will in his emotional and professional struggles.

I loved that, in this case, Nic Jones, the social media chicken maven, comes riding in to save the guy, not vice versa. There's plenty of grump versus sunshine vibe, and Nic's chickens and a certain kitten are definitely a fun element. But this romance has a major dose of serious and although it's largely related to the economic effects COVID has left in its wake, it's also about how the people you should be able to trust can let you down.

Will has serious self worth issues and his beloved family are the basis. He's like a trailing runner in the race of life thanks to the hits to his veterinary business and his client base during and after COVID and the way his brother and parents make him feel. I've gotta say that I'm sure many women and men have probably suffered from a similar unhealthy environment where they feel smaller, sidelined and less worthy than a favored sibling: this makes Will's situation so relatable. This is a guy who turns into a loner, avoiding others so he won't feel their disappointment in his lack of success because he feels his practice's problems are evidence of his own unworthiness. He won't turn to others for help and advice because he is so ashamed of the prospect of failing. It's sad and endearing even if he's so wrong about the way his employees and the community in general see him.

Nic came to town because her ex boyfriend and her long-term best friend turned on her. But, unlike Will, she picks herself up, finds a new location across country to begin again, and keeps herself open to others. She's the light in their pairing and boy, does he need her influence!

Good plot, wonderful characterizations, satisfying & upbeat ending. Recommended.

Thanks to Montlake and NetGalley for sharing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest opinion.

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The title is absolutely clever! The plot is cute. The story addresses modern situations from a different perspective, with romance thrown in. The author is very good at description (a cat scene is rather cute and makes me smile), however, the story dialogue was confusing and choppy. The character's interaction was not easy to follow for me. I see it as transferring a story from a film to a book, and the transition is missing some information.

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I requested this ARC after seeing great enthusiasm for it on social media, and I can see that there's a lot to like in this book. But it never quite cohered for me, especially on an emotional level.

To begin with the positive, I think Chick Magnet does a really great job of hyper-updating romance tropes to make them resonate in the moment of its publication. You've got "heroine with big-time job coming back to her family's small town" in Nic, but her big-time job is as an instagram influencer and her connection to the town is a bit more distant; you've got a "struggling business owner" in Will, but he's specifically struggling with running a small business in the wake of Covid; you've got a "bad ex" in Nic's former boyfriend Brian, but it's framed in a very current-feeling language of social media and influence and gaslighting.

And this is a pretty major spoiler for the end but at the risk of sounding vindictive and peevish, I really liked that the book let Will's veterinary practice actually fail. Because failure is a very real thing! And not counter-indicative to one's happiness in other areas of life. Seeing a hero who otherwise is carrying a bit of Manly-Man-Cishet-Romance-Hero baggage have to come to terms with his own pride and self-image was really interesting. There's a lovely line towards the end where Will, who ends up selling his practice to a big conglomerate and having to take on a diminished role in his own workplace, thinks about how he's needed to learn to become "smaller" but "more honest," and how that's been difficult but meaningful, which I really loved. Sometimes you can't save the scrappy little local business with a car-wash where the whole community comes together, and that's ok.

I'm also happy to report that my biggest concern going into the book - that the "chicken influencer" content would be horribly twee and overly-pleased with its own quirkiness - was quickly allayed. The chickens are, in fact, pretty charming, and deployed with admirable restraint ("deploys chickens with admirable restraint" would make a great blurb, call me, publishers). That alone probably bumped this book up a star for me.

But... and this is really hard to actually express in useful review form... almost nothing about this book *cohered* for me personally. The best explanation I can come up with is that Chick Magnet had a lot of the requisite component parts of a romance novel, but I never felt that they were actually working together? Nic had a compelling backstory (her gaslighting ex and constant performance for social media) and a present-timeline struggle (her isolation) and Will had a compelling backstory (a judgmental family he never quite fit into) and present-timeline struggle (feelings of inadequacy over his failing business) but I could never quite FEEL the past influencing the present, or how the characters emotions connected to their actions, beyond what we're told rather directly in the narration. And I never got the sense that the characters' personal-growth arcs were ever touching their romantic arc: Nic and Will's relationship progressed on a "hit all the major moments" timeline that existed on a different temporal and emotional plane than their personal growth. And then add to that the fact that the level of *constant* horniness and physical pull Nic and Will feel around each other never seemed to bear any resemblance to who they were as people, but was primarily served to the reader via metaphors about explosiveness (that often felt like they were frantically papering over a lack of personality chemistry) ... you end up with a bunch of different romance ingredients sitting out on a table that never got mixed together into the delicious dish I was hoping for.

(I felt this was never more obvious than at the end of the book, where the need to resolve each individual plot and character thread separately - because they never really existed together- led to some *really* problematic rushing of emotional development, including the suggestion that a lifetime of family emotional neglect can and would be solved by a parent suddenly realizing they'd behaved unfairly and apologizing almost unprompted. Would that it were that easy! Ditto for how Nic's falling-out with her best friend is handled: so much plot short-hand needs to be used here that the book, I think inadvertently, leaves us with the impression that two women's 20-year-long friendship is both ruined *and* repaired exclusively via the actions of the men they're dating, which was super frustrating to me.)

Anyway I wanted to like this book a lot. And intellectually, I appreciated a good deal of what it was going for. But it never really came together and made me feel.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I am mutuals and friendly with the author on social media.

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I’m sorry that I didn’t like Chick Magnet more, but this one really wasn’t for me. And I feel so disappointed saying that, because I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read by Emma Barry in the past and loved the promo for this book. It’s also doing lots of bold and interesting things: it takes on the pandemic and it’s toll on mental health; it confronts the impact of a struggling economy on small town life; and reflects on the toxic nature of social media. But the central arc - the romance between sad and lonely vet Will and super star chicken influencer Nic - was strangely paced and felt both under and over baked to me, if that’s possible. Under baked because it happens by inches in a no-man’s land between will-they-won’t-they and slow burn, with an over rapid race towards the love declaration at the end; and over baked because, man, do we ever hear about how much Nic and Will are lusting after each other, over and over again.

I also wasn’t convinced by the character conflicts. Nic’s backstory involves a coercive and emotionally abusive ex, who has used her to boost his social media brand, while Will is labouring under the impression that he’s a disappointment to his parents and siblings, a disappointment that’s compounded by his failing vet practice. Both of these have the makings of powerful emotional engines and, at first, I was keen to see how they would develop. Ultimately though they both rely on some barely believable plot points (take, as an example, the idea that Nic’s best friend since childhood, would believe her ex’s version of events over hers) and then resolve in ways that I found super unconvincing and unsatisfying.

Finally, I want to say a word about how low the bar is set for Will here. I notice often that cis men in cishet romances don’t have to do very much to be cast as absolute heroes. They acknowledge when they’re wrong and apologise for it? Omg, what an evolved human! You tell them you don’t like something during sex and they don’t do it? Whoa, can this man be real! They’re kind and helpful when you need a friend? Quick, lock this unicorn down! What would otherwise be considered basic consideration and thoughtfulness is treated like a rare, special quality. And when that’s put into contrast with a previous toxic relationship like Nic’s… it looks even more extraordinary. Which is not to say that Will isn’t a nice guy. He sounds just fine. But he also sounds…just fine? Like, he’s performing his humanity to a reasonable level. This isn’t a bad thing. We’re all doing our best in difficult times. Good for Will. It’s the way this is lionised when really that’s the minimum of what we should expect - and as a result it reinforces gender essentialist relationships between men and women.

CWs: FMC has recently separated from a coercive, abusive ex; ex continues to contact and stalk her; MMC has situational depression; MMC is in financial difficulty linked to the pandemic; cold and distant family; emotionally abusive sibling; descriptions of veterinary procedures.

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What can I say about this book? It was as good as I thought it would be? Hah! It was even better! I wasn’t sure how I would feel because it was about a social media influencer but I heard great things about it, from people I trust, so I had to read it. And let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed. I loved it!

I was also impressed with Emma Barry actually including the pandemic into the storyline. Not many authors are because books are seen as a way to escape the dumpster fire of the last 3 years but she did a great job working it in nicely. It wasn’t triggering for me (though it could be for some, so be prepared for that).

Chick Nic wasn’t this vapid, self-obsessed person I was worried she would be. She had depth and dearly loved the chickens she cared for. Not to mention I feel like we got to see some real character from said chickens—it was SO cute, I loved them.

This is a grumpy hero/sunshine heroine book and it makes me all kinds of happy. Will, the MMC, is all kinds of broody but also completely fascinated by Nic even before he meets her. He doesn’t want to be and it’s even worse when he realizes she isn’t as bad as he thought. I loved Will and how we really see the depth of his character. We see the internal and external struggles and I feel for him so much.

This is my first book by the author, but it won’t be my last. Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for the opportunity to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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3.5 ⭐️

I’m a big fan of the grumpy x sunshine trope, so Chicken Magnet was right up my alley! I loved the humor and the banter, but found it to be surprisingly angsty.

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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.
I loved my previous experiences reading Emma Barry, and was eager to try anything new from her. And while the premise of Chick Magnet gave me some pause (still deathly afraid of birds, and the chickens that now occasionally lurk near the branch of the public library I frequent are the bane of my existence), but I was willing to roll with it.
And it turned out a bit differently than I expected? Yes, there’s Nic and her love of chickens. But I actually came to care for them, as she truly loves her chickens and they have so much personality (although I still prefer they stay fictional and on the page, thank you).
But even with the somewhat odd selling point, there’s a deeper element to it too, with both Nic and Will being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic economically in different ways. Her career took off, what with more people being at home and consuming content, while his stagnated, and he’s now in financial trouble. While people will have mixed feelings about seeing COVID reflected in the book in a major way, I like that it explores the world as we are now, having lived through economic troubles and life changes as a result of it.
And I also want to echo a sentiment that my friend Aarya shared in her review, that it’s actually kind of refreshing to see Will’s financial issues grappled with on-page. While I get the sentiment for having financially stable (or uber wealthy) heroes, it’s nice to have a bit of variation now and again to explore financial issues in a more nuanced way.
And there’s also the way his arc contains exploration of depression, and how common that is among veterinarians. It adds a lot of nuance to the “grumpy hero” archetype, and makes him personally feel a lot more accessible to me than many of his counterparts who don’t have that kind of depth to them.
This is a super sweet read with some quirks and a lot of heart. If you like contemporary romance, and don’t mind discussion of the impact of COVID, I recommend checking this out!

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Following her public dumping by her jerk of a social media star ex, Nicole and her flock of chickens move to the small town where her grandmother grew up. Very quickly she encounters her very grumpy veterinarian neighbor Will, who is familiar with her chicken-related YouTube posts and has some strong feelings about the advice she hands out. Fairly soon she starts to see past his grumpiness (the man is under a LOT of stress) and he realizes that she's not trying to mislead her followers and really just has the best interest of the chickens at heart.
This was a fun and frothy read and especially good for those who love a good Grumpy/Sunshine romance.

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Very cute! Had some issues with the MMC a few times (just attitude and view of FMC job) but the story rolled well. Was different than a lot of what is read recently which was refreshing.

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A different concept for a romcom that I have yet to see. It sounds weird but it works. I thought the chicken influencer job made for an interesting story and the heroine was pure sunshine. The hero was a grump which is my catnip. These two together were sweet. I liked their banter and how their romance developed. Giving it four stars!

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This was a cute story with featuring a YouTube star and a small-town veterinarian. The main characters were a little more “angsty” than I was expecting, but there was humor present during the romance. My favorite part of the story was the chickens. The story also addresses empowerment and mental health in a constructive way.

Thank you to NetGalley, Montlake, and Emma Barry for the e-ARC.

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First of all, this cover is amazing. However, it doesn't really match the tone of the book. Which was fine by me because ummm well just LOOK at that cover. Damn.

The premise is phenomenal and I was sold from the get-go. Social media chicken influencer moves to small town only to wind up irritating the towering grumpy vet next door. Uhhh sign me ALL the way up! And Will doesn't disappoint as a grump, we are delivered a perfect grouch here: stern. wounded, built like a viking but secretly a huge cinnamon roll. Moreover, the reasons for his angst are well delineated so all I want to do is scoop him up and cuddle those grouchies away. Ugh. Have I mentioned he's perfect? Talk about brooding. Get it? *cluck cluck* But I digress...

Nic is also completely fleshed out, you understand why she feels the way she does, and she's relatable. The banter between these two is excellent, and with a very funny premise, it feels really fun and sunny at first. The third act is kinda sad, but they get their HEA, never fear.

The pandemic subplot is well done, it doesn't take over the whole book but explains a lot of his issues. My main problem was the build-up to sexual tension with less than stellar delivery. With chemistry this hot and the slow-burn buildup, I was expecting their interactions to burn the paint off the walls, but the first scene came and went and I was like wait, did I miss something? Overall, there were weird lapses in the sexual tension, or tone change from chapter to chapter.

I was also confused by the possibility that she was going to help him with marketing and social media and then that whole idea fell away entirely and the ending was much different than expected. It was like a Chekov's gun in the plot, I kept waiting for it to go off but it never did.

All in all, I loved these two, I felt like I KNEW these two on a visceral level, which is very hard to do, so I am thoroughly impressed. I just wish we could've had a little more smolder on page, but that's probably just a me thing.

Thank you so much to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Nicole is an influencer who mainly reports about her chickens and reveals tips and tricks, but she doesn't find much love from her veterinarian neighbors, especially after the first encounters.

A nice story about neighbors who first become friends and then maybe more, but I don't want to reveal that. Of course there is a bit of drama but also a lot of emotion.

A small town that sticks together and supports each other not only with advice but also with action.

I really enjoyed the story and had a few hours of reading with it.

Have fun reading!

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Trigger Warnings:

Toxic (Ex)
Financial troubles
Family Dynamic Troubles

This is a contemporary romance

Nic is a Youtuber where she talks about raising chickens and she's kind of a celeb. After breaking up with her toxic boyfriend, and losing her best friend over false allegations concocted by her ex-boyfriend she decides to move away. Going back to a town her grandma resided before she passed away. Will is the town veterinarian, but is facing financial troubles and having a hard time trying to keep the clinic afloat. During COVID his clinic went dry and left him now trying scramble to keep the doors opened. Nic moves next to Will and with that comes mix feelings from Will. But it seems fate has a way of putting people in the way of each other.

This was a sweet steamy contemporary romance and the author added the aspect of how COVID affected people in different ways. Where some saw success while others loss their whole livelihoods because of the lockdowns. Also the family dynamic of how it's okay to express you're not okay to family and those you care about. There was also the aspect of family or people being oblivious to how hurtful words can affect us mentally. What may seem harmless to you, but not to the person on the receiving end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

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This is great story, how meet cute between Nic and Will begin with judgemntal slowly change into sweet and support each other, always there for each other. I glad Nic finnaly can spoke her mind to Brian. What a douche. For friendship with Rose, whyyyy she give her a chance.. because of the idea of 20 years friendship? Who can rock because of opinion from new people. What a laugh..

Thank you to NetGalley for provide this book, it is pleasure to review this book.

#ChickMagnet #EmmaBarry #Montlake #NetGalley #ARC

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Chicken YouTuber Nic moves to the small town where her grandma grew up to get ways from her ex boyfriend. She finds herself living accesos the street from the town vet, Will, whose practice is failing after the pandemic. She two don’t get off on the right foot but there’s an attraction between the two and they can’t stay away from one another.
I was expecting a lot more from this book and feel disappointed. I feel that the blurb and cover paints this as a steamy rom-com but it’s not that. Will is depressed and losing his business throughout the book and Nic is going through the trauma of putting her life back together after an abusive relationship. Neither of those things are funny. While the book was open door the scenes were lackluster and brief, and the relationship between the two was not developed enough for me to feel any heat or attraction between the two. We were told there was heat but the writing didn’t show it.
I really wanted to like both Nic and Will but as the book went on I just cared about them less and less to the point that finishing the book felt like a chore. There was so much potential and the idea was a solid concept but it just didn’t work for me.

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I am in love with this book. Nic and Will are so cute and I had so much fun with the tension between them. I really loved how the author had Will go to therapy to actually work out his issues. My only possible complaint is that covid did not need to be so heavy in the book.

I received an arc through netgalley.

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Will, small town Vet with a side of grump. The pandemic had hit his business hard, and he was in a constant state of anxiety trying to figure out how he could save his small town veterinarian clinic. Next door a woman, Nic, moved in. He immediately recognized her for her YouTube channel about caring and keeping chickens. After a bumpy start to their relationship, the two neighbors start to find they’re more alike then they would’ve thought. Throw in some major sexual tension, some family drama, and a crazy ex… these two had their hands full.

What I appreciate about this book is that truly the description matches the book. If you are interested in a grumpy Vet romance - this book is for you. If you have kept chickens yourself, this book may be for you. Or if you just enjoy small town romances, that are a little quirky - worth the read.

Though not my niche, I enjoyed this book. I loved Nic and thought she was hilarious. Will was a grumpy sunshine that all good romance books have. Thank you to Emma Barry for allowing me to read this book early in exchange for my honest review.

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A cute small town romance between a veterinarian and a backyard chicken YouTuber. It hit the right beats and the MCs problems were felt real and relatable. That said, this book didn't have that spark of magic for me like another of the author's books did. (Emma Barry does refer to an artistic fallow period in her author's notes and given the state of the world, it's certainly understandable.) I do look forward to her future projects.

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