It was not easy to find a Hanukkah romance! I stumbled upon Lighting the Flames because the author, Sarah Wendell, happens to also be one of the boss ladies at one of my must-read websites, Smart Bitches Trashy Books. Apparently SHE got tired of there not being Hanukkah romances and wrote one! Thank goodness she did -- You guys, this book is so good. It's much deeper a book than I expected to find on a mission to read holiday romances.
Jeremy and Gen have been friends a long time, and are counselors at a Jewish summer camp. This year, in an effort to keep the financially-strapped summer camp open, a week-long winter camp has been offered, and Jeremy and Gen have returned to guide the campers.
Except things are different, because they kissed during the summer and haven't spoken since!
Delicious set up, right? Wendell weaves a masterful tale of friends turned lovers, regrets, stupid puns, camp activities, and oh yeah - the beautiful celebrations and traditions that happen at Hanukkah! - and you come to feel like you know the heroes personally. They feel like two of your dorky friends who you know are meant to be together.
It also had me in literal tears. In my car, parked outside my kid's music class, in a scene where Jeremy (spoilers! A mortuary school graduate) talks about sitting with the dead. I lost a good friend only a few weeks ago unexpectedly and suddenly, and it hit me right in the feels. In a good way, though. A comforting way. And at a time of great world stress like this, a comforting book is the greatest gift.
Lighting the Flames is great, and it's given me my 2018 New Year's resolution -- "Change what sucks into things that don't suck."
Yeah. You're damn right I will! <3
Lighting the Flames is available on
Pairs well with --
Matzo Ball Soup
I love soup, especially in the winter, and it as cold as can be here in Chicago. I will eat forty gallons of Matzo Ball soup if you put it in front of me, so I decided to learn how to make it myself, using this recipe from Budget Bytes as a jumping off point. *Note: I made it and it was pretty good, but thanks to the wonder of technology the photos we took of it don't exist anymore. :( My 6 year old said, "I liked eating those matzos!"
Another incredible book (co)written by Sarah Wendell.
Sarah Wendell's previous book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels. Co-written with Candy Tam, This one lives on my shelf forever. At the end of a week where romance hit the news yet again for being disparaged by someone who doesn't read it, AND the issue of women being targeted for sexual harassment because they read it, I'm clinging to the Smart Bitches. Romance is a huge and vibrant - and $$ community - led and read mostly by women, and we don't take kindly to being bashed by ignorance. ;) Read this book if you want to learn all about the genre I love.
Have a lovely Sunday! <3