working-class contemp

A
Tanked

Earlier this year, while poking around in my TBR pile (it's quite massive), I came across Mia Hopkins’ Thirsty, the first book in her Eastside Brewery series. I started reading it and was totally absorbed, cursing myself for not having read it sooner. In short order, I read book two, Trashed, and ...

B+
Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela

Warning: this book is filled with serious discussions about, and memories of, various characters’ domestic abuse. There are no active descriptions of abuse on page (everything is related via memories or off-page), but one of the minor characters does die at the hands of her abuser. This is one ...

B
A Pho Love Story

Two households, both alike in owning Vietnamese restaurants, in SoCal, where we lay our scene. Fortunately, Bảo Nguyễn and Linh Mai are brighter than their Veronan counterparts, although their situation is no less complex: their parents have bad blood that goes far deeper than a culinary rivalry ...

A
After Hours

It takes extraordinary authors to make extraordinary books out of ordinary people. Fortunately, Cara McKenna has what it takes. Erin Coffey earned her LPN while nursing her dying grandmother, so Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital is her first professional position - one she only took to be close to h ...

A
Just a Heartbeat Away

I haven't read too many début stories this year, but I heard good chatter on social media about Cara Bastone's Just a Heartbeat Away, the first full length novel in her Forever Yours series. (Technically her first book is a prequel novella to the series, When We First Met, but this is her first ful ...

A
Trashed

I love realistic looks at low-income characters, heroes who win you over by who they are and not what they have. So how have I never read Mia Hopkins before? Eddie “Trouble” Rosas has just completed a five year prison term when he encounters a stunning but sobbing woman in the east LA communi ...

A
Inked With a Kiss

Inked with a Kiss is a wonderful, sweet and chemistry-laden tale about two ordinary women falling in love under the ordinary pressures of real life. Thirty-seven-year-old Jamie Winston is a tattoo artist and shop manager with a dysfunctional family – a twelve-year-old-daughter, Riley, whom she ...

D
Love Her or Lose Her

I loved Fix Her Up, book one in the Hot and Hammered series.  That was a pleasant surprise since my relationship with Tessa Bailey is hit or (mostly) miss.  I never know how I’m going to feel at the end of one of her novels.  But Fix Her Up was great.  Reader, it featured a children's party pl ...

B+
Love Her or Lose Her

Love Her or Lose Her is the second book in Tessa Bailey’s Hot & Hammered series.  A love story about a marriage on the rocks and about growing into who you were always meant to be, this novel is fun, sweet, intense and heartwarming. It stands very well on its own; Georgie and Travis from Fix ...

B+
Hard Chrome

I've read a few of Vanessa North's romances before, my favorite being The Lonely Drop, an LGBTQ friends-to-lovers novella written for a photo prompt in a Goodreads readers' group. It put the author on my radar, and this latest story solidifies that spot. Hard Chrome is the first in her small town Am ...