Friday, October 13, 2023

Mini Reviews: Romance Edition

Today I'm sharing with you two romances that are perfect for the fall season. One is historical and the other is a contemporary romance, but both will most definitely tug on your heartstrings.

Kissing Kosher by Jean Meltzer
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: August 29, 2023
Publisher: Mira
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Matzah Ball
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



Goodreads says, "Avital Cohen isn’t wearing underpants—woefully, for unsexy reasons. Chronic pelvic pain has forced her to sideline her photography dreams and her love life. It’s all she can do to manage her family’s kosher bakery, Best Babka in Brooklyn, without collapsing. She needs hired help. And distractingly handsome Ethan Lippmann seems the perfect fit. Except Ethan isn’t there to work—he’s undercover, at the behest of his ironfisted grandfather. Though Lippmann’s is a household name when it comes to mass-produced kosher baked goods, they don’t have the charm of Avital’s bakery. Or her grandfather’s world-famous pumpkin spice babka recipe. As they bake side by side, Ethan soon finds himself more interested in Avital than in stealing family secrets, especially as he helps her find the chronic pain relief—and pleasure—she’s been missing. But perfecting the recipe for romance calls for leaving out the lies…even if coming clean means risking everything."
Avital Cohen has always wanted to be a photojournalist, but plans changed when her chronic pelvic pain took over her life. Instead, she finds herself managing her family's bakery in Brooklyn where they are known for their Jewish treats, such as the famous pumpkin spice babka. Some days are rougher than others when it comes to Avital managing her pain and at times she lives a half-life. Enter Ethan Rosenberg, who is applying for a job at the bakery even though it appears he is overqualified. He is completely enamored with Avital, so this throws a wrench in his plans. Ethan's grandfather forced him to apply for this job at the competing bakery to learn the pumpkin spice babka recipe. Once he meets Avital, Ethan loses his resolve as he realizes she has so much courage just to deal with her chronic pain on a daily basis, and on top of that, he has feelings for her. Ethan and Avital's family have been feuding for years, so can Ethan and Avital get past their issues to find love? Kissing Kosher is a delightful rom-com with some modern-day Romeo and Juliet vibes. I recommend it to fans of contemporary romances that include authentic and honest issues.

I applaud Meltzer for giving her heroines chronic conditions. I appreciate this so much because as someone with a chronic condition, I feel seen. Avital's endless doctor appointments, her courage to get through the day, and how her illness impacts her everyday life can be appreciated by so many people. Meltzer's portrayal is spot on. Also, I loved watching Avi and Ethan's romance unfold and I knew that there would be some bumps in the road once Avi found out how Ethan initially became interested in the bakery, but through their budding romance, Ethan finds the courage to stand up to his grandfather. Perhaps their families can mend the issues that sparked years ago. I was most definitely rooting for them! Since most of the story takes place at a bakery and there's a lot of focus on fall treats, 
Kissing Kosher would be a great book to enjoy this fall season.

The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: Feburary 23, 2021
Publisher: Entangled
Source: Library
Other Books By Author: Fourth Wing
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Twenty-eight-year-old Georgia Stanton has to start over after she gave up almost everything in a brutal divorce—the New York house, the friends, and her pride. Now back home at her late great-grandmother’s estate in Colorado, she finds herself face-to-face with Noah Harrison, the bestselling author of a million books where the cover is always people nearly kissing. He’s just as arrogant in person as in interviews, and she’ll be damned if the good-looking writer of love stories thinks he’s the one to finish her grandmother’s final novel… even if the publisher swears he’s the perfect fit. Noah is at the pinnacle of his career. With book and movie deals galore, there isn’t much the “golden boy” of modern fiction hasn’t accomplished. But he can’t walk away from what might be the best book of the century—the one his idol, Scarlett Stanton, left unfinished. Coming up with a fitting ending for the legendary author is one thing, but dealing with her beautiful, stubborn, cynical great-granddaughter, Georgia, is quite another.  But as they read Scarlett’s words in both the manuscript and her box of letters, they start to realize why Scarlett never finished the book—it’s based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot, and the ending isn’t a happy one. Georgia knows all too well that love never works out, and while the chemistry and connection between her and Noah is undeniable, she’s as determined as ever to learn from her great-grandmother’s mistakes—even if it means destroying Noah’s career."

Scarlett has left her cushy world behind for life with the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force during WWII. While there, she meets charming American pilot Jameson Stanton. This is where their romance unfolds despite the big difference in their backgrounds. Fast forward many years, Scarlett becomes a successful romance novelist living in Colorado and upon her death leaves her estate to her great-grandaughter, Georgia Stanton. Georgia, after a horrific divorce, travels to Colorado to sort things out including finding someone to finish Scarlett's last novel, which is a romance inspired by her own life during WWII. Georgia needs someone perfect to take on this job, not someone like Noah Harrison, who always finishes his novels with some formulaic tragedy. But Noah knows he is perfect for the job and convinces Georgia he can take this on and do it well. As the two work together, sparks fly, and this is juxtaposed by all the source material from WWII including letters between Scarlett and Jameson, excerpts from the original manuscript that Scarlett started, as well as flashbacks. If you enjoy historical fiction, especially WWII novels, The Things We Leave Unfinished should not be missed!
The Things We Leave Unfinished is a dual-timeline novel set during the present day as well as WWII. I love novels set during WWII, so I was drawn to that storyline a bit more than the present day, although I was rooting for Georgia despite her issues with trust. I enjoyed the relationship she had with her grandmother and I loved reading the excerpts from Scarlett and Jameson's letters. Based on Yarros's fantasy novel, Fourth Wing, I was nervous to see how she would bring the time period to life, but I am happy to report she did a great job and I was completely absorbed in this romance. There's even a plot twist that I didn't see coming and kept me flipping the pages right up until the very end.  

So, are you a fan of Jean Meltzer or Rebecca Yarros? Have you read these novels? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. After seeing Fourth Wing everywhere, this Yarros book seems so different - but I love WWII historical fiction and dual timelines!

    1. Yes, this is more my speed than Fourth Wing. I liked it a lot more! Thanks for dropping by, Angela!


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