The Littlest Library

Poppy Alexander’s debut novel is a delightful read. Jess, a librarian in a small English village, decides to uproot herself after losing both her job and her beloved grandmother. She finds a little house near the sea and impulsively buys it, and finds out she is responsible for the red telephone box on the property as well. Deciding to convert it into a tiny library, Jess stocks it with her own and her grandmother Mimi’s books. The little library slowly catches on, as villagers delight in finding different books to read, and Jess comes to know and love them. But when the only job offer she lands is in Birmingham, too far away to commute, Jess faces up to the fact that she must sell and uproot once again. Will anyone else step up and save the day? Read it and find out…

Little Nothings

Three women friends, Liv, Binnie & Beth add a new member, Ange, to their group who initially seems genuine. However, Liv discovers over time, Ange is out to separate her from the rest of the group. Ange’s little digs begin to pile up, and during a group vacation in Greece, Liv finally has had enough and explodes. She leaves the group after finding a new friend, Clara, who is quite unconventional. But will Liz take it too far in her efforts to pay Ange back for her backstabbing? This is quite the suspense novel!

Flying Solo

Linda Holmes follows her hit title Evvie Drake Starts Over with another winner: Flying Solo. Laurie Sassalyn volunteers to clean out her favorite aunt Dot’s house after her death. Her four brothers are all too busy, and since Laurie is a freelancer and is in between jobs, she is the logical choice. But when Laurie returns to her hometown in Maine to work on the house, she is dismayed to find it is crammed with her aunt’s memorabilia. She enlists the help of a local man who offers to sell what pieces he thinks would command a profit, but she soon finds out he isn’t what he seems. But Laurie sets out to right a wrong with her youngest brother’s help, and finds romance along the way with an old boyfriend. I very much enjoyed this, it’s a great light summer read.

Black Cake

Two siblings, Byron and Benny are summoned to a lawyer’s office after their mother, Eleanor Bennett, has died. Eleanor has been harboring secrets from her two now estranged children, and leaves behind a recording for them to hear. In this way, she explains her past and all its secrets, which come as quite a shock to both adult children. Eleanor’s legacy is her famous black cake, which she had learned how to bake as a young person living in Jamaica., and in turn, taught her own daughter, Benny. Can Byron and Benny set aside their resentments and anger at each other and come together as a family after learning the details of their mother’s life? Charmaine Wilkerson has authored a very engaging novel in this debut performance. I highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction and of novels that delve into family dynamics.

Homicide and Halo-Halo

Mia Manansala begins the novel with an author’s note that she wrote this during a dark time in her life, while dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Her protagonist chef, Lila Macapagal, is struggling with some issues of her own, after her ex was murdered in the previous novel, and she herself escaped a close call with death . Lila is again dealing with a murder in her town, while acting as a judge in the Miss Teen Shady Palms Beauty Pageant. The pageant was developed to give the winner a generous college scholarship, and Lila herself was a previous winner. But when the pageant’s major sponsor turns up dead by a river, and her cousin Bernadette is the main suspect, Lila cranks up her detecting skills to prove Bernie’s innocence.

I enjoyed this novel as much as I did her first one, Arsenic and Adobo. The glossary and pronunciation guide to the Filipino honorifics and words used throughout the novel was a definite plus, as well as the recipes included at the end. After reading the food descriptions, I was dying to try some of the dishes mentioned, so I need to find a good local Filipino restaurant!

An additional bonus is the inclusion of chapters one and two Mia’s next book in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen series, Blackmail and Bibingka. I’m looking forward to reading it…