Emily Henry is making waves in romance. If you didn’t hear of her after her debut, Beach Read, you probably heard about her after the release of People We Meet on Vacation. And, this summer, everyone was talking about Book Lovers. (Can we appreciate that play on words for a minute?) I think the reason her books resonate so well is that they are romcoms with depth.
With short chapters and likable characters who make devastating choices, you’ll find yourself flying through Jen Craven’s first contemporary novel. Best Years of Your Life follows a family—two professor moms and their daughter—as they navigate the most difficult year of their lives, professionally and personally. As someone who worked for a university for over ten years, I found Craven captured campus life perfectly.
Malibu Rising was one of my favorite novels of the year. After smash hits like Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid has already made a name for herself among serious readers and book clubs. As much as I’ve enjoyed her writing in the past, Malibu Rising has elevated Reid to a new level in my book. Malibu Rising still has elements of those other novels. Set in Los Angeles, with a famous patriarch, the themes of fame and all its struggles are present. However, this novel focuses primarily on four siblings and their attempts to find their ways in the world, while dealing with less than optimal parents.
Two women. One man. An unexpected friendship formed with the intention of revenge. You know the concept. You might even love it (I do). But, set your preconceptions aside, because while The Exit Strategy includes a similar hook, the plot is sure to surprise you. If you have worked in any type of corporate setting or male-dominated business, you need to read this book.
The Two Lives of Sara is Catherine Adel West’s sophomore novel. Her debut, Saving Ruby King, released two years ago–a timely novel about a young black girl in Chicago whose mother is murdered.
The Two Lives of Sara follows a young woman in trouble as she struggles to deal with her painful past, hopeful for a better future. The novel is set in Memphis. As someone who lived in Memphis for several years, I really enjoyed reading this book. and the setting rang true to me.
A quiet novel, full of characters dealing with real grief, it reminded me of other heartwarming books that I have loved. While reading, the book offered me a similar feel to At Home in Mitford, with a little more edginess (aka tragic character pasts).
A Boundless Place is the first novel I’m featuring for Book Club Bites’ collaboration with The Best of Women’s Fiction podcast and Hasty Book List.
Chicken Pot Pie is one of my favorite cold-weather dishes. There’s nothing quite like the warm, hearty filling and a flaky crust. Comfort food at it’s best!
This particular recipe was created by the wonderful Jodi Thomas and inspired by her romance Dinner on Primrose Hill. Jodi was generous enough to share this absolutely delicious (and EASY!) recipe with me.
Whether it’s fall, winter, or the middle of summer, nothing beats a slice of spice cake, a warm cup of coffee, and good discussion with your closest friends. That includes your book club!
This spice cake made with apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pecans is comforting and delicious.
While this recipe calls for summer squash, if you are making this in the fall or winter and struggling to find the pictured variety of squash, try acorn, zucchini, or even spaghetti squash for a twist. This dish was light, but also filling. And the unique flavors combine to create a warm and comforting dish that’s absolutely delectable.
Do you love romantic stories, but pure romance isn’t your thing? Maybe you need a little bit of a darker backstory or a stronger internal struggle that has nothing to do with the leading man. I get it. The good news is that there are lots of romantic books out there that fit this bill while still centering primarily on the romance element. Beach Read by Emily Henry is one of those books.
Inspired by the Dust Bowl and migrants who left the plains for California, The Four Winds is another sweeping historical by Hannah. If you don’t know, there is some long debated controversy surrounding John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath (which Hannah’s The Four Winds echoes). At the time, another writer, a woman named Sanora Babb was researching and writing her own novel about the Dust Bowl and Depression.
In a way, the already hugely popular The Four Winds gives Babb some justice. Hannah speaks often of using Babb’s research in her own writing.
Arancini is a traditional Italian dish consisting of fried rice balls. Made with risotto, sometimes the arancini have peas or mozzarella inside. For this recipe, I included the mozzarella, but omitted the peas. Crispy on the outside and soft and rich on the inside, arancini is a filling and delicious dish that is best served with tomato sauce.
If you love the flaky goodness of a biscuit with a little bit of crunch on the outside, but you wish for something sweeter like a blueberry muffin, then scones are exactly what you’ve been looking for. This recipe packed with apples and cinnamon will produce a flaky, but soft scone that will have you reaching for just…one…more.
Are you a fan of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries? How about Hallmark romances? If so, then you’ll love this new book from the Honey Creek Series by Jodi Thomas.
Picnic in Someday Valley is the second book in the Honey Creek series and combines just the right about of mystery and romance.