‘Big Chicas Don’t Cry’ by Annette Chavez Macias is about family, forgiveness and following your path

“Big Chicas Don’t Cry” by Annette Chavez Macias is a sweet tale about four cousins who were once as close as sisters, but through life experiences, romantic relationships (or lack thereof), and professional pursuits have lost a bit of that closeness. One of them, Marisol, is not speaking to her cousins. Erica was just dumped by her boyfriend of two years (and right at Christmas!), Selena is frustrated by the blatant racism she encounters at work and wary of entering into a romantic relationship because of a past breakup, and Gracie would love a relationship but has no prospects.

Continue reading

‘The Matchmaker’s Gift’ by Lynda Cohen Loigman transcends generations to share a lovely story about true love and fate

“The Matchmaker’s Gift” by Lynda Cohen Loigman is an engaging love story that isn’t a romance. It isn’t a thriller, it’s not an angsty romance with ups and downs in every chapter, and it’s certainly not a mystery with twists and turns jumping out to stymie readers. Yet I found myself so engaged with the characters, so charmed by the story, and so interested in which direction the plot would go that I read the book during every spare moment. I finished it in 24 hours, and was sorry. I didn’t want the story to end.

Continue reading

‘Mr. Perfect on Paper’ by Jean Meltzer is an insightful novel that explores Jewish life and matchmaking

In her second novel, Jean Meltzer continues writing about something she’s rather an expert on: Jewish life. “Mr. Perfect on Paper” is a charming tale of finding love where you least expect it, and while it’s a romance, it’s also a glimpse into the lives of people who are struggling, but keep their struggles private. Her delightful main character, Dara Rabinowitz, is ridden with self-doubt, suffers from GAD, general anxiety disorder, and is very candid about it. Because of her disorder, Dara prefers to live life close to her bubbe, Miriam, spending time with her and otherwise working from home while running her extremely successful and lucrative business, a Jewish dating app called J-Mate. Her mother died, and Dara is also close to her sometimes-pushy sister.

Continue reading

‘The Girl from Guernica’ by Karen Robards is a stunning and powerful historical fiction

The Girl from Guernica by Karen Robards

Guernica is the small Basque town in Spain that was made famous by Pablo Picasso in his huge painting of the devastation that town endured during the Spanish Civil War. The Germans destroyed the town and slaughtered men, women, children, and animals at the behest of the rebel forces led by the military. At the start of “The Girl from Guernica,” author Karen Robards takes us to this small town the night before the horror that is a central part of the novel, to see the violence and wanton cruelty through the eyes of the main character, Sibi.

Continue reading

‘The Hotel Nantucket’ by Elin Hilderbrand is the quintessential beach read

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

Grab a copy of “The Hotel Nantucket” by Elin Hilderbrand, and head for the nearest beach or pool. This tale of sun and summer even has a spectre, the ghost who was killed in the hotel a century before in a fire. There are samples of star-crossed love, second chances, atonement, blackmail, and hidden wealth in this sumptuous story about a newly renovated hotel and the people who work there.

Continue reading

‘Some of It Was Real’ by Nan Fischer is about believing in yourself and finding out difficult truths

Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer

Some books grab you from the first page, and reading on and on becomes almost as important as breathing and eating. “Some of It Was Real” by veteran author Nan Fischer is one such novel. How can we not fall for a young woman who has as her best friend an intimidating but lovable 145-pound great Dane named Moose? We quickly fall for both Sylvie and Moose and we want to keep reading to see how Sylvie deals with the obstacles life has placed in her path.

Continue reading

‘Sugar and Salt’ by Susan Wiggs a story of strength and sacrifice and love

Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs

“Sugar and Salt” by Susan Wiggs is a touching and important read. The novel is rather provocative and significant as it deals effectively with many vital women’s issues. What is a tad perplexing is that the book is billed as a romance, but actually the romance plays second fiddle to the more important issues regarding misogyny and race that Wiggs quite effectively raises. The cover image also seems to not reflect the actual novel; in the story, Wiggs cleverly reverses the stereotype of male barbecue cook and female baker. The person who would be making the pink-iced, flowered, decorative cake on the cover is not main character Margot Salton; she’s actually the pitmaster who learned barbecue in Texas and opened her restaurant in San Francisco next to a bakery. The baker is her romantic foil, Jerome Sugar, which seems an entirely appropriate name for someone who makes sweet bakery goods all day.

Continue reading

‘For Butter or Worse’ by Erin La Rosa is a tasty romantic treat

For Butter or Worse

Cooking shows are hugely popular, and many a Kitchen Aid stand mixer was purchased during the pandemic (guilty, me). For those who are perfecting their proofing skills and practicing delicious pasta dishes, “For Butter or Worse” by Erin La Rosa is a deliciously delightful romance. Nina and Leo, the two stars of a reality cooking show, “The Next Cooking Champ,” are often at each other’s throats. They don’t like each other, and when Nina quits after Leo inadvertently calls her a name on live TV, her restaurant’s popularity tanks. Likewise, Leo’s family chain of restaurants loses business.

Continue reading

‘An Island Wedding’ by Jenny Colgan a delightful summer romp

An Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan

The fictional Scottish island of Mure is the setting for a series of novels by Jenny Colgan, and so delightful are her descriptions of the remote setting and the colorful inhabitants that we long to visit there and see the whales in the ocean, feel the cold breezes, and marvel at the colorful buildings that line the street along the coast. In “An Island Wedding,” we revisit this magical place, based on the real islands of Orkney and Shetland, and reacquaint ourselves with many of the inhabitants who have been featured in past novels.

Continue reading

‘Dead Against Her’ by Melinda Leigh is a gripping mystery novel

Dead Against her by Melinda Leigh

The fifth novel in the Bree Taggert series by Melinda Leigh, “Dead Against Her,” is just as riveting and touching as the first ones. They feature Bree Taggert, a tough female sheriff in a rural upstate New York community who was born in the county to an abusive father. She became a detective, and, when her sister was murdered, returned to her roots to raise her sister’s children with the help of her now retired former partner.

Continue reading

‘A Rip Through Time’ by Kelley Armstrong is a time travel mystery in Victorian Scotland

A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong

After ending her fabulous “Rockton” series, prolific author Kelley Armstrong presents us with “A Rip Through Time,” a mystery boasting a different twist. Instead of exploring a unique location, we follow a modern police detective who is flung back in time to the Victorian Era, into the body of a housemaid in Edinburgh, Scotland. When Vancouver detective Mallory Atkinson is out jogging in Edinburgh while taking a break from visiting her dying grandmother, she is brutally attacked. She wakes up days later; but in what seems like a never-ending nightmare, she realizes that she is in the body of a maid and that she has been somehow transported back 150 years in time.

Continue reading

‘Our Last Days in Barcelona’ by Chanel Cleeton is a great summer read/book club choice

Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Fans of Chanel Cleeton’s historical fiction have gotten to know the families in her novels, and with “Our Last Days in Barcelona,” we revisit some of her characters while we meet new ones in a dual narrative that is set in mid-1930s and the early 1960s. In the earlier timeline, Alicia, the mother of the Perez sisters, has fled to Barcelona from Cuba with her young daughter to stay with her parents after finding out about her husband’s infidelity. Yet when that daughter, Isabel, travels to Barcelona in search of her sister Beatriz in 1964, she sees a photo of her mother, herself, and an unknown man at a cafe in Barcelona. Strangely, her mother, when questioned, adamantly insists that they have never been to Barcelona. We also meet Rosa, a Perez cousin, whose own situation mirrors the personal quandaries that both Alicia and Isabel face.

Continue reading