Chick Magnet
Grade : B+

Don’t let the blurb for Emma Barry’s Chick Magnet fool you; this is a surprisingly serious romance with a lot of dark issues floating about in its prose to match its sense of personality. But while it lacks the sense of easy-breezy fun the synopsis promises it’s beautifully poetic and romantic.

Nicole “Chick Nic” Johnson is trying to move on in the wake of her very public breakup with a YouTube star who used her for attention and lied to everyone about his intentions. Nic’s fans still love her in spite of it, and they have been loving the antics of her flock of chickens since the pandemic. She moves to Yagerstown, Virginia to make a fresh start, and hopefully get over her broken heart.

As if on cue, a veterinary emergency brings her into contact with the handsome Will Lund, who has long been a hate-watcher of her vlogs. He accuses Nic of using her chickens for social media clout without caring about their health and well-being and of giving out bad veterinary advice. Nic genuinely loves her animals and is fit to be tied. She and Will instantly dislike each other, but obviously can’t avoid one another, because guess whose clinic Nicole has moved in next door to? While she deals with depression connected to a stalking incident, Will deals with his failing veterinary business. Might the answer to their troubles lie in one another?

This one sparkles wonderfully – even though yes, it’s a Covid-era romance, and there is discussion of quarantines and the impact the pandemic has had on everyone (although there is surprisingly little talk of masking). If you’d rather not think about it, then this definitely isn’t the story for you. Otherwise, Chick Magnet is your classic enemies-to-lovers romance with a lot of surprisingly unique conflict.

On Will’s side, it’s the fact that his practice is slowly but surely dying and he’s dealing with fallout from the pandemic. On Nic’s, she is being stalked by her ex. In between there’s light romance and animal antics, but a big chunk of the plot revolves around the two of them dealing with their issues and coming to therapy. As I said at the beginning, the blurb here does not fit the tone of the novel at all.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good story. I liked Nic and rooted for her, and I really liked Will. They’re good people and their love story is great; there’s sparkle to the romance and their lives together – whew, are they a loving pair! – and their romance is well-written with Barry’s typical flair. Of course we also get some cute stuff with the chickens thrown in on the side.

If you’re willing to put up with its darkness – like Psyche being drawn out of the darkness by her Eros, as Nic aptly says – then Chick Magnet may be just the read you need.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : February 4, 2023

Publication Date: 01/2023

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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