A satisfying debut for foodies and romance lovers alike.

SADIE ON A PLATE

An aspiring restaurant owner who's joined a reality food competition learns she has bigger fish to fry when her sexy fling turns out to be the show's new celebrity judge.

After having been fired by her ex-boyfriend/boss at Seattle’s renowned Green Onion restaurant, the last thing chef Sadie Brooke Rosen expected was to land a spot on the illustrious cooking show Chef Supreme. Eager to escape a secret that made her the laughingstock of the Northwest culinary scene, Sadie boards a plane to New York in hopes of showcasing her "food with a Jewish twist"—like matzah ball ramen—to interested restaurant investors. She faces off against 11 talented and opinionated chefs, including Nia, who's memorized every statistic from previous seasons of Chef Supreme; and Kaitlyn, Sadie’s quasi-nemesis from back home. The only person missing from the competition is Luke Weston, the dreamy half-Korean chef Sadie met on the plane and had an impromptu date with though she assumed he was going to be one of the other contestants. Sadie's memories of their steamy post-date kiss evaporate, however, as soon as he walks onto the set and is introduced as the show's new judge. Sadie knows she could jeopardize her chances of winning if any details of their date go public, but she soon realizes that she’ll never get anywhere in her relationships or her career if she continues to play it safe. Elliot’s first adult novel (she writes for teens and middle graders as Amanda Panitch) has the perfect amount of reality show hijinks and food innuendos that help dial up the heat: “By the end of our allotted time, I was sweaty, satisfied, and coated in a thin layer of jelly, which also described one of my past late-night flings with the owner of a local doughnut stand.” Elliot also highlights issues of diversity in the culinary world, like the way Black chefs are pigeonholed with Southern cooking or the problem with dubbing any “non-White” plates as “ethnic cuisine.” With the mouthwatering recipes and delicious romance served here, readers will be left hungry for more adult content from Elliot.

A satisfying debut for foodies and romance lovers alike.

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-33571-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A warm and winning "When Harry Met Sally…" update that hits all the perfect notes.

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PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION

A travel writer has one last shot at reconnecting with the best friend she just might be in love with.

Poppy and Alex couldn't be more different. She loves wearing bright colors while he prefers khakis and a T-shirt. She likes just about everything while he’s a bit more discerning. And yet, their opposites-attract friendship works because they love each other…in a totally platonic way. Probably. Even though they have their own separate lives (Poppy lives in New York City and is a travel writer with a popular Instagram account; Alex is a high school teacher in their tiny Ohio hometown), they still manage to get together each summer for one fabulous vacation. They grow closer every year, but Poppy doesn’t let herself linger on her feelings for Alex—she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship or the way she can be fully herself with him. They continue to date other people, even bringing their serious partners on their summer vacations…but then, after a falling-out, they stop speaking. When Poppy finds herself facing a serious bout of ennui, unhappy with her glamorous job and the life she’s been dreaming of forever, she thinks back to the last time she was truly happy: her last vacation with Alex. And so, though they haven’t spoken in two years, she asks him to take another vacation with her. She’s determined to bridge the gap that’s formed between them and become best friends again, but to do that, she’ll have to be honest with Alex—and herself—about her true feelings. In chapters that jump around in time, Henry shows readers the progression (and dissolution) of Poppy and Alex’s friendship. Their slow-burn love story hits on beloved romance tropes (such as there unexpectedly being only one bed on the reconciliation trip Poppy plans) while still feeling entirely fresh. Henry’s biggest strength is in the sparkling, often laugh-out-loud-funny dialogue, particularly the banter-filled conversations between Poppy and Alex. But there’s depth to the story, too—Poppy’s feeling of dissatisfaction with a life that should be making her happy as well as her unresolved feelings toward the difficult parts of her childhood make her a sympathetic and relatable character. The end result is a story that pays homage to classic romantic comedies while having a point of view all its own.

A warm and winning "When Harry Met Sally…" update that hits all the perfect notes.

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0675-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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