SANDCASTLE BEACH by Jenny Holiday

June 5, 2021

From the publisher:

From the USA Today bestselling “master of witty banter” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a hilarious and heartwarming romance about two enemies whose feud turns red-hot.

Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.

Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings?


I feel like I’ve read this story before (because I have) but I don’t care, Holiday does her usual good job of building believable characters that I actually cared about, a warm, wonderful setting, and enough angst to keep those pages turning.

Maya has a big heart. She loves the theater but understands that the tiny beach town is not really enough to keep it going. So to bring in outsiders, she snares a former boy band member to star in her new production. She has barely enough money to keep going, so she gives him her apartment to stay in and gets down to work.

The town meeting reveals a pleasant surprise; they are offering a grant to a local business, Maya desperately needs that money, but she has some competition. A local bar owner is also vying for the grant. Law is well liked in town, but he is not as desperate as Maya, and she’s sure she has it in the bag. But the road to success is paved with many speedbumps, least of which is the hot boy band member trying to date her and her increasing attraction to Law.

This was a fun read and a good escape for a few hours. I ask for nothing more than that!

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

SANDCASTLE BEACH by Jenny Holiday. Forever (March 9, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538716571. 432 pages.

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GOLDEN GIRL by Elin Hilderbrand

June 4, 2021

From the publisher:

In this satisfying page-turner from “the queen of beach reads” (New York Magazine), a Nantucket novelist has one final summer to protect her secrets while her loved ones on earth learn to live without their golden girl.

On a perfect June day, Vivian Howe, author of thirteen beach novels and mother of three nearly grown children, is killed in a hit-and-run car accident while jogging near her home on Nantucket. She ascends to the Beyond where she’s assigned to a Person named Martha, who allows Vivi to watch what happens below for one last summer. Vivi also is granted three “nudges” to change the outcome of events on earth, and with her daughter Willa on her third miscarriage, Carson partying until all hours, and Leo currently “off again” with his high-maintenance girlfriend, she’ll have to think carefully where to use them.

From the Beyond, Vivi watches “The Chief” Ed Kapenash investigate her death, but her greatest worry is her final book, which contains a secret from her own youth that could be disastrous for her reputation. But when hidden truths come to light, Vivi’s family will have to sort out their past and present mistakes—with or without a nudge of help from above—while Vivi finally lets them grow without her.

With all of Elin’s trademark beach scenes, mouth-watering meals, and picture-perfect homes, plus a heartfelt message—the people we lose never really leave us—Golden Girl is a beach book unlike any other.


Hilderbrand continues to stretch her literary chops with her latest summer read, and it’s a good one. The kind of book you can’t put down. There is a bit of suspense – the hit-and-run at the center of the story is a mystery to be solved, but even I figured that out without really trying. Doesn’t matter though, it’s a good story with a beautiful Nantucket setting, characters who come to life on the page, and a bit of magical realism. Or a touch of fantasy/paranormal, whatever floats your boat, in that our main character, the golden girl herself, Vivian Howe, is the victim of the hit-and-run and is watching from heaven’s waiting room. A nice touch, especially for a mother who worries about her kids. And it feels a bit autobiographical, too – the main character is a novelist who sets all her books on Nantucket. Makes it feel more personal.

From heaven’s waiting room, Vivi meets her “person”, Martha, a Hermes scarf always around her neck and she helps Vivi navigate her afterlife. There Vivi can watch over her kids for the summer, and she is gifted with three “nudges” that she can use to help point her kids in the right direction. It makes for an interesting subplot.

There is a lot of family drama and laughs, and the story really moves quickly making it impossible to put down. If you like family drama with a touch of romance and an edge, this ticks off all those boxes. Another excellent read from the Nantucket Queen of beach reads, and this may be her best book yet, and that is really saying something. Don’t miss it!

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

GOLDEN GIRL by Elin Hilderbrand. Little, Brown and Company (June 1, 2021). ISBN: 978-0316420082. 384 pages.

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LEGACY by Nora Roberts

June 3, 2021

From the publisher:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts presents Legacy, a new novel of a mother and a daughter, of ambition and romance, and of a traumatic past reawakened by a terrifying threat…

Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time. That was the day he nearly killed her―before her mother, Lina, stepped in.

Soon after, Adrian was dropped off at her grandparents’ house in Maryland, where she spent a long summer drinking lemonade, playing with dogs, making a new best friend―and developing the stirrings of a crush on her friend’s ten-year-old brother. Lina, meanwhile, traveled the country promoting her fitness brand and turning it into a billion-dollar business. There was no point in dwelling on the past.

A decade later, Adrian has created her own line of yoga and workout videos, following in Lina’s footsteps but intent on maintaining creative control. And she’s just as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren’t close, but they’re cordial―as long as neither crosses the other.

But while Lina dismisses the death threats that Adrian starts getting as a routine part of her daughter’s growing celebrity, Adrian can’t help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling. Year after year, they keep arriving―the postmarks changing, but the menacing tone the same. They continue after she returns to Maryland and becomes reacquainted with Raylan, her childhood crush, all grown up and as gorgeously green-eyed as ever. Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins…


This book is a fine example of why Nora Roberts is still at the top of the bestseller lists. She writes a great story with interesting characters and really knows how to keep the reader turning pages. Between the family dynamics, the growing business, friendships, romance, and of course the crazy, threatening poems that show up annually, it was impossible to put this book down.

Lina, the mom, is the least developed character here but she is very much on the periphery. A career driven, super successful yoga megastar, she is not close with her daughter. In fact, the nanny and the grandparents are the ones who raise Adrian to be the mature, smart, sensible yet driven young woman she becomes. When she is forced to start a new high school, she decides to create her own exercise videos. She recruits a group of nerds, committing social suicide in the process, but she doesn’t care. She likes her new friends and they get her where she wants to be. Happily, she takes them along on her ride to success.

But success always has its downside. In Adrian’s case, it’s the threatening poems that follow her for years, until they finally start escalating. Her mother, always one to throw money at a problem, hires a private investigator since the FBI hasn’t really done anything over the years. Meanwhile, Adrian moves out of NY and in with her grandfather after her grandmother passes. They adopt a mountain of a dog from the pound, and Adrian finds she is very happy living in the small town where she spent her best times growing up. Her best friend still lives there, and her brother, Raylan of the beautiful green eyes, ends up moving back home. Adrian and Raylan are friendly, but that friendship turns to something deeper as they reconnect.

If you like a bit of suspense with your romance, this is your book. I have to say I pretty much figured out who the threat was early on, and it didn’t really matter. I still loved this story and these characters. They almost(!) tempted me into trying yoga again.

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

LEGACY by Nora Roberts. St. Martin’s Press (May 25, 2021). ISBN: 978-1250272935. 448 pages.

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TALK BOOKISH TO ME by Kate Bromley

June 2, 2021

From the publisher:

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely—and inconvenient—sources.

Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.

But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.

With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?


There are a bunch of books coming out with book, bookish, bookstore, library, or librarian in the title and of course, I want to read them all. I started with this one by mistake; I thought I was going to be reading a book about a woman who goes to work in a bookshop in Scotland, but that’s a different book! (The Bookshop of Second Chances.) I figured it out pretty quickly, but I got sucked into this story so happy accident. Turns out I ended up liking this book way more than the one I originally set out to read (review of that one will be up soon.)

This was a charming story with many laugh out loud moments, I loved the humor here. And it’s a debut! I love finding new authors.

Kara and Ryan had a really bad breakup, the kind that left them hating one another. But turns out Ryan is a childhood friend of Kara’s best friend’s fiance, so as the wedding approaches, they end up having to deal with one another. And the funny thing is, after Kara’s first run in with Ryan, it seems her writer’s block has ended. Ryan is giving her the impetus to write again, and as her deadline looms, Kara is desperate enough to take advantage of that. And did I mention Ryan has an adorable dog?

Ryan ends up sleeping on Kara’s couch, but not for long. The chemistry they once had has grown even hotter, but Kara lives in NYC, and Ryan is in North Carolina. Plus Kara is moving to Italy for 6 months after the wedding. Between their history, their geography, Kara’s looming deadline, and the stress of the wedding, things are really crazy. For Kara and Ryan to reach their happily ever after is not going to be easy, and we, the readers, get to enjoy every moment of it. A happy beach read sure to leave a smile on your face – don’t miss it!

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

TALK BOOKISH TO ME by Kate Bromley. Graydon House; Original edition (May 25, 2021). ISBN: 978-1525806438. 320 pages.

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ROSALINE PALMER TAKES THE CAKE by Alexis Hall

May 30, 2021

Winner Bakes All, Book 1

From the publisher:

Fans of Casey McQuiston, Christina Lauren, and Abby Jimenez will love this scrumptious and sweet romantic comedy from the “dizzyingly talented writer” of Boyfriend Material (Entertainment Weekly)

Publishers Weekly Summer Reads Top 10 Staff Picks
Oprah Daily Most Anticipated Romance Novels of 2021
Buzzfeed Must-Read Spring Romance Novels
Goodreads Sexy Spring Romances
LGBTQ Reads: Most Anticipated Adult LGBTQAP Fiction 2021
We Are Bookish: Spring Releases to Have on Your Radar

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory.  Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.


I really hate when books don’t live up to their hype and this one just didn’t do it for me. I loved the premise of the book; it’s set at a British Bakeoff clone TV show but the baking was so secondary to the plot, it could have been anywhere.

Spoiler alert: there may be some spoilers in this review.

The characters were mostly unlikeable, although The main character, Rosaline, was okay and I loved her precocious daughter Amelie. But even Rosaline wasn’t fully brought to life for me. I didn’t hate her but I also didn’t love her. I was sort of ambivalent, I guess?

I knew Alain was a dick from the get go, and I sort of understood why she was attracted to him but it took way too long for that to fizzle. So I didn’t love the plot, either. I did like Harry, probably more than any of the other characters, but didn’t really know much about him other than he was an electrician from a big family, was sweet to his nieces & nephews, was very good looking but used poor grammar. Not much to go on there.

The rest of the characters just never came to life for me, or were annoying, or just so one dimensional it didn’t even matter. I wanted the baking to be more integral to the story, and it just wasn’t. The book was divided into days (Tuesday, Friday, etc.) rather than chapters – not sure why that matters but there was something in the author’s note at the end about it. Overall, this was a very disappointing read. I love the Great British Bakeoff AKA The British Baking Show here in America, but this book did not do it justice. If you haven’t watched, it is one of the most binge-worthy shows on Netflix and you don’t have to be a baker to enjoy it. As the author of this book points out, Americans just love seeing how noncompetitive a British competition is, and it’s true.

I also learned that the author isn’t much of a baker, which may be why there is so little emphasis on that. This is the first book of a series, and I’m not entirely sure if I will read the next. I want some charm and humor in my British romcoms, and both were severely lacking here. All that said, the reviews are pretty good so if you do read it, I’d love to hear from you!

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ROSALINE PALMER TAKES THE CAKE by Alexis Hall. Forever (May 18, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538703328. 448 pages.

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THE SOULMATE EQUATION by Christina Lauren

May 29, 2021

From the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners returns with a witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate? Perfect for fans of The Rosie Project and One Plus One.

Single mom Jessica Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: one of GeneticAlly’s founders, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond Match” that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.


First of all, yay that the main protagonist is a woman with a penchant for numbers, and a job as a statistician. That is not something you see every day and I loved it. This book is super nerdy, and I mean that in the best possible way. I didn’t always get all the statistical references and that’s okay because it lent some authenticity to these characters and who cares if I got it or not. I got the point, and I loved it.

The characters are believable and interesting. The idea of a dating app based on DNA? Why not. And the execution of the story was at times sweet, funny, sexy, but always compelling. Christina Lauren scores another hit – they are a couple of my favorite writers. Put this one in the “must read” pile.

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE SOULMATE EQUATION by Christina Lauren. Gallery Books (May 18, 2021). ISBN: 978-1982123963. 368 pages.

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THE DATING PLAN by Sara Desai

May 28, 2021

From the publisher:

Even with a step-by-step plan, these fake fiancés might accidentally fall for each other in this hilarious, heartfelt romantic comedy from the author of The Marriage Game.

Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiancé.

Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…

Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.


The fake fiancée is at the forefront of this terrific romcom. Daisy and Liam go way back; they were childhood friends. But they haven’t seen each other in years. Daisy is career driven, but her traditional family is making her crazy – they want to see her married. Liam is in even deeper trouble. His inheritance is contingent on him marrying, so these old friends decide that they are the answer to each other’s problem. So the fake fiancée is born.

Daisy and Liam need to learn more about one another as adults, plus they need to date to have everyone believing their story. Falling in love was never the plan, but of course that’s what happens.

I loved Desai’s last book, The Marriage Game, and this new one lived up to my expectations. A super fun romance – don’t miss it!

A LibraryReads Pick!

One of…

SheReads’ Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021
GoodReads’ Hottest 2021 Romances
Marie Claires Best New Romance Novels of 2021 (So Far)
PopSugar’s Best New Romance Books of March 2021
HelloGiggles’s Best New Books to Read in March

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE DATING PLAN by Sara Desai. Berkley (March 16, 2021). ISBN: 978-0593100585. 352 pages.

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ONE SNOWY NIGHT by Patience Griffin

May 27, 2021

Sweet Home, Alaska: Book 1

From the publisher:

A woman struggling to raise her daughter alone in a small Alaskan town finds her simple existence upended when the father of her child returns. . . .

Sweet Home, Alaska, was once a thriving, idyllic town, where A Stone’s Throw Hardware and Haberdashery and the Sisterhood of the Quilt were the cornerstones of the community. Then, in one fatal moment, two young lives were cut short, and everything changed. Now the Stone family businesses have closed, the diner is in the red, and the population has dwindled to 573.

After the tragic accident that took her sister’s life, Hope McKnight discovered she was pregnant, and gave up her dreams of college to raise her daughter. When Donovan Stone returns to sell his family’s properties and to cut final ties with Sweet Home, he’s shocked to find Hope still there–and a single mother. The pull between Hope and Donovan is as powerful as ever. But so are the secrets and lies stemming from that long-ago tragedy. Will they be able to overcome the past, or will the heartbreak of bygone days destroy their love again?


Patience Griffin is a new-to-me author but I am obsessed with books set in Alaska, so this one made it to be to-be-read pile. Unfortunately, it got lost there for a little while, and then I read it and it got lost in my to-be-reviewed pile, but I finally made it!

Hope and Donovan have some shared history that is tough to overcome. His brother and her sister were in a fatal accident. He blames Hope, and they drift apart for good after he moves away. This is set in a small town in Alaska, with all the nosiness of the residents and the severe economic downturn that has hit many small towns. But when Donovan returns, he realizes his feelings for Hope never really went away, despite his anger.

This is a warm, wonderful romance and there isn’t any sex to speak of, so for those of you who prefer that, here’s your book. I loved the setting and these characters, and I’m happy to report that book 2, Once Upon a Cabin, comes out in November. I will try and be more prompt about reading and reviewing.

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ONE SNOWY NIGHT by Patience Griffin. Berkley (February 23, 2021). ISBN: 978-0593101476. 336 pages.

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THE SECRET BRIDESMAID by Katy Birchall

May 26, 2021

From the publisher:

Matrimony meets mayhem in a modern British romcom about a young woman charged with pulling off the biggest aristocratic wedding of the year––and the misadventures that ensue.

Sophie Breeze is a brilliant bridesmaid. So brilliant, in fact, that she’s made it her full-time job.

As a professional bridesmaid, Sophie is hired by London brides to be their right-hand woman, posing as a friend but working behind the scenes to help plan the perfect wedding and ensure their big day goes off without a hitch. When she’s hired by Lady Victoria Swann––a former model and “It Girl” of 1970’s London; now the Marchioness of Meade––for the society wedding of the year, it should be a chance for Sophie to prove just how talented she is.

Of course, it’s not ideal that the bride, Lady Victoria’s daughter, Cordelia, is an absolute diva and determined to make Sophie’s life a nightmare. It’s also a bit inconvenient that Sophie finds herself drawn to Cordelia’s posh older brother, who is absolutely off limits. But when a rival society wedding is announced for the very same day, things start to get…well, complicated.

Can Sophie pull off the biggest challenge of her career––execute a high-profile gala for four hundred and fifty guests in record time, win over a reluctant bride, and catch the eye of handsome Lord Swann––all while keeping her true identity a secret, and her dignity intact?

Heartwarming and hilarious, Katy Birchall’s The Secret Bridesmaid celebrates the joys (and foibles) of weddings, the nuances of female friendship, and the redeeming power of love in its many unexpected forms.


If you are looking to escape for a few hours and you like to laugh out loud while you’re reading, this is your book! It certainly was mine.

So a professional bridesmaid is basically a laid back wedding planner, perfect for brides who want to keep control of the wedding but may need some help along the way. I don’t know if this is a real thing, but Birchall had me believing. It was a little harder to believe that a British aristocrat planning a fairly large wedding wouldn’t just go ahead with a wedding planner, but the bridezilla at the center of the wedding makes that call. Her mother, on the other hand, hires Sophie despite her daughter’s resistance (to put it mildly.)

Cordelia is the bridezilla, or as Sophie’s friend refers to her at Miranda Priestly. (You know who that is, yes?) Cordelia is determined to force her hired bridesmaid to quit, and goes to great lengths to make her point. But Sophie considers herself a professional, and with her mother’s occasional encouragement, she is bound to make Cordelia see the light, if she doesn’t get fired first.

There are other brides in the roster and they add some additional comic relief – the bride who wants all her bridesmaids to be redheads so her brunette hair will stand out, the bride who wants a Star Wars themed wedding, replete with her hired bridesmaid dressed as Chewbacca, and so forth. But Cordelia – she is the master of mean which makes for a very fun read. Her good looking brother is Sophie’s romantic interest, but he takes a back seat to everything else going on in her life.

This book was pure escapism, funny as hell with a sweet romance. I loved it!

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE SECRET BRIDESMAID by Katy Birchall. St. Martin’s Griffin (May 4, 2021). ISBN: 978-1250795793. 400 pages.

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HANA KHAN CARRIES ON by Uzma Jalaluddin

May 23, 2021

From the publisher:

One of Amazon’s Best Romances of the Month!

For fans of “You’ve Got Mail,” a young woman juggles pursuing her dream job in radio while helping her family compete with the new halal restaurant across the street, in this sparkling new rom-com by the author of Ayesha at Last

Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighborhood of Toronto. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening her mother’s restaurant.

When her mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighborhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant–who might not be a complete stranger after all.

As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.


Once I saw the comparison to “You’ve Got Mail,” this became a must read for me. The comparison is apt so I was pretty sure I knew what was going on fairly early in the story, but that in no way lessened its appeal. Plus it revolves around restaurants, always in my wheelhouse, and in addition to a wonderful love story, there is a gentle look at hate crimes and this book makes it personal, always a good thing.

Hana loves radio and found her dream internship with the local NPR station. Set in Toronto, a new to me setting, in an Indian neighborhood called the Golden Crescent, it just adds depth to the story. I loved learning about the culture, the food, and these characters, and we get to know them well.

There are some complications at work that make Hana’s life a little bit stressful. But when she is attacked for her ethnicity, things really take a turn for the worse. What could have been a dark turn, instead the author uses it in a more gentle way which I really appreciated.

Aydin is a wonderful hero, young, good looking, but most of all kind and generous. But his father! Every good story needs a bad guy and while he has a small role, it is a memorable one. The other secondary characters all play their parts in making this an interesting book, but it is the sweet romance at the heart of things that really drew me in.

This was a wonderful read from the author of another fabulous book, Ayesha at Last. Don’t miss it!

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

HANA KHAN CARRIES ON by Uzma Jalaluddin. Sourcebooks Casablanca (January 19, 2021). ISBN: 978-1728226316. 384 pages.

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