The Honeymoon Cottage

Yardley is a wedding planner in the town of Cemetery, not a very upbeat name for a honeymoon destination. When she lobbies to remove the name from every business in town, including her own, the town matriarch defends the use of her relative’s name, who established the town. Yardley is also pitted against her mother and aunt, her two roommates in a large Victorian house, where she also operates her business, Cemetery Weddings. They constantly criticize her to the point where she often questions her decisions. Enter a bride -to- be with a handsome brother, and you have the beginnings of a romance between him and Yardley. This was a light read, good for when you don’t want to wrangle something more serious. Recommended for romance fans…

Hello Beautiful

Released last month and chosen as an Oprah pick, Hello Beautiful describes the four Padavano sisters growing up as a close-knit family in Chicago. The oldest sister meets William Waters at college, (spoiler here) the man who will marry 2 of the sisters. Reflecting the Little Women theme, we anticipate that one sister will perish before the book ends. Spanning about 30 years, we watch as the sisters each make a life for themselves mostly against the approval of their mother. William is the solitary, sad, 6 foot 7 inch man who is welcomed into the family. Told in the voices of various characters, we understand how each decides to move forward and then finally circle back around to their origins. Recommended.

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun

This title is number three in the Finlay Donovan series, which I realized after I had started reading it. Finlay Donovan, a writer/mom/sleuth needs to discover who is blackmailing Feliks Zhirov, a Russian mobster. It’s a quid pro quo, since at her request, he shut down a website for contract killers that had her ex-husband’s name on its list . Her pal Vero owes an Atlantic City loan shark thousands of dollars that she doesn’t have, so they are both in hot water. Together they drop out of sight and attend a citizens police academy, where Finlay is attracted to a hot cop who is teaching several courses. It’s your basic mystery romance, but I enjoyed it. However I would start with the first two books in the series; otherwise this title will be a bit confusing…

Little Beach Street Bakery

Jenny Colgan is one of my favorite Scottish writers along with M. C. Beaton (I miss her!) and Alexander McCall Smith. In this quartet series, Polly has abandoned a fast-paced life, her business and broken relationship for a remote tidal island to figure out her next steps. Entering this insular community of characters, Polly meets the courageous fishermen, grumpy bakery owner, and American beekeeper wondering if she could fit in and belong here someday. Meant as a temporary landing, Polly discovers she feels comfort and connection. Maybe she will stay longer then planned? Baking has always been her go-to when feeling unsettled. It turns out the tiny island needs a baker. Perhaps Polly has reached her destination instead of just a stopping-off point. Enjoyable.

Good Dog, Bad Cop

Another offering by David Rosenfelt just hit the shelves, but this title is not about his lawyer character, Andy Carpenter. Instead it follows Corey Douglas, a retired cop turned private investigator and his partner, Simon Garfunkel, a retired K-9 police dog. Corey teams up with Laurie, Andy’s wife, to solve a cold case involving a fellow officer, Danny Avery, who was murdered several years earlier, while on duty. This series is a little less amusing than the Andy Carpenter cases, but it was still enjoyable.