Molly Hagan is a 40 year old mother with a 6 year old son and a husband–soon to be ex-husband, who dumped her for a younger woman. He has lost his job and has fallen behind in his child support payments, forcing Molly to look for work after being a stay-at-home Mom for several years. Feeling insecure about her abilities, her age, her skills and her body, Megan takes a job offered by a friend as a copy writer, designing the menu and name for a new bakery near the New York Public Library. The owners want a tie in with books, and Molly uses her ability to create puns as a source for the name of the bakery–Vanity Fare. Molly is a wonderfully written character and we see her change and grow through the book, becoming more confident in who she is and what she wants out of life. Molly’s circle of friends and supporters are likeable characters and are well-drawn. There is romance and humor, and the names for the baked goods at the bakery–”Tart of Darkness”, “Of Mousse and Men” for example, are tied to literary references. This is a delightful story, filled with fun, descriptions of wonderful desserts and starring a woman who struggles to turn into the person she aspires to be.
Bronte Talbot is an ad agency executive, working in New York City and living a fast-paced life. Having had a failed romance, she is not interested in developing a relationship with a new man. When Max Heyworth, a graduate student, comes into her life, she views him as an ideal man to have a fling with, as he is returning to Britain in a few weeks. Max, however, is interested in a long-term relationship and falls for Bronte in a big way. Due to her insecurities, Bronte is reluctant to commit to Max, and is surprised to discover that he is the future Duke of Northrop. Can they overcome their differences and find love? A Royal Pain is a charming love story–with smart, likeable main characters who change and grow emotionally. There are many humorous moments and colorful supporting characters that make this an amusing contemporary romance.
by Kristin Billerbeck
Her life in Paris as a perfume creator, given up, for what? An embarrassing moment at the altar with no groom. Daphne Sweeten left Paris for the man she thought she loved. When he neglected to make their wedding, she was devastated. Now she must endure life in Dayton, Ohio, where she and her missing fiance were suppose to work together, creating household fragance. After being jilted at the altar, she soon realizes she has also lost her sense of smell. How can she keep a job that hired her for her nose, when she has lost it?
Jesse Lightner, soon to be Daphne’s new boss, didn’t want to add the expense of a “nose” into the budget. But, he had no choice in the matter. Now, he not only has to balance the already tight budget, find something for Daphne and her nose to do, but also come to Daphne’s rescue. The Scent of Rain is a quick engaging read and Billerbeck throws in a few twists to the plot. Of course Jesse and Daphne get it all worked out and live happily ever after.
Izzy Spellman never really had a chance for a normal life. Raised by private investigators, she joined the family business at 12, establishing a pattern of snooping and distrust that doesn’t bode well for healthy relationships. Her parents routinely run background checks on her boyfriends. Her uncle Ray regularly disappears on binges of his assorted addictions. Her brother David, the supposedly normal one, has been hiding something. Even her baby sister is mastering the art of extortion within the family. Meanwhile Izzy tries to solve an unsolvable case and maintain a fairly normal (if completely dishonest) relationship with the dentist of her dreams.
I was told to read The Spellman Files because I like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Both series are hilarious mysteries with entertaining young female characters who can’t quite get it together, but Spellman is less slapstick and more clever. This tale of mystery, suspense, and family dysfunction will keep you laughing all the way through.
Lucy and her friends have decided to spend graduation night searching for Shadow, the elusive but talented graffiti artist. Ed and his friends just want to kill time until they can carry out their real plans for the evening. In the meantime, Ed joins Lucy in her quest, racing to all of Shadow’s artwork while thawing their prickly relationship through their stories and hopes. Lucy shares her obsession with Shadow and his art, unaware of how close he really is. Graffiti Moon is a fun young adult novel with great characters and an artistic twist.
Poppy Wyatt has lost it. In the midst of a hotel fire drill she manages to lose both her family-heirloom engagement ring and her cell phone, causing a near panic until she catches a glimpse of a phone in the trash can. Finders keepers, right? Sam Roxton, obnoxious businessman and the owner of the phone disagrees. Now Poppy is fielding messages and calls from Sam’s business associates and her cranky wedding planner, but still not from all the people who are supposed to be finding her engagement ring. Add to this juggling act Poppy’s attempt to impress her future in-laws while hiding her loss of ring from them and chaos is the result. Sam ends up being her conscience and support and forces her to question what’s missing from her relationship with the “perfect” Magnus besides an emerald ring.
In Kinsella’s classic style of a well-intentioned heroine who just keeps messing up, I’ve Got Your Number will keeping you cringing, laughing, and cheering on Poppy to the very end.
>I must confess, I read One for the Money a few years ago and I didn’t like it. I decided to give Janet Evanovich one more try, though, so I picked up Love in a Nutshell and was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it.
Kate Appleton has had a horrible year. She found out her husband was cheating on her, got a divorce, lost the custody battle over her poodle, and then she lost her job. She really needs a break. Her plan is to fix up her parents’ lake house and turn it into a bed and breakfast. This would be easier if it weren’t in horrible shape and she hadn’t lost most of her savings in the housing market crash when she and her husband’s house lost a lot of its value.
Enter Matt Culhane, owner of a successful restaurant/brewery in town who needs someone to find out who has been sabotaging his business. Matt offers Kate $20,000 to find his saboteur, which she accepts as pretty much her only option for saving the house (did I mention her parents were behind on house payments?).
Kate has a lot on her plate with trying to find out who is sabotaging Matt’s business, meet new friends in Keene’s Harbor, fix up her parents’ house, and try to resist her growing attraction to Matt.
>Steph Vandergrift is floundering. She burned some bridges in Baltimore when she quit her job and left her friends and family to move to Middleburg and elope with Rick Manfred, the young attorney who stood her up at the altar. Now she needs to find a job and a place to live until she can get herself back on her feet. When Milly, the kind woman who owns Millicent’s Tea Shop offers her a short-term position, it’s the answer to her prayers.
Kendall James, a handsome Middleburg business owner, meets and begins pursuing Steph, a source of great confusion for her. Just when she starts feeling ready to consider a relationship with Kendall, her A.W.O.L. fiance turns back up looking for a second chance.
With wonderful secondary characters, a cozy small town setting, and a sweet romance, Trish Perry has written a winner in The Perfect Blend. The second book in the Tea Shop series, Tea for Two, is already out and available at the library.