Monthly Archives: March 2023

Unorthodox Love by Heidi Shertok

Unorthodox Love by Heidi Shertok

Shertok, Heidi. Unorthodox Love. Alcove Press, 2023. ISBN 9781639103768. $17.99


Our heroine Penina comes from a community of modern Orthodox Jews, where marriage at a young age and having lots of children is highly prized. As an infertile woman, finding a marriage match has not come easily to her, and a traditional shadchan is heroically making a last ditch effort into finding a mate for Penina. Meanwhile, she spends her days volunteering in a local hospital’s NICU, working her jewelry shop job, maintaining her social media presence as a frum fashionista, and going on hotel lobby dates with unsuitable men. When her boss goes out on medical leave and his attractive (secular) son takes over the jewelry store, sparks fly, but handsome Sam annoys the heck out of her,and somehow, their bodies keep colliding in ways that are against the strict rules around unmarried, unrelated male and female proximity. Penina’s sister is in danger of losing her home due to her husband;s failed businesses, and Penina becomes determined not just to marry, but to marry wealthy; when Sam learns she’s become engaged and will settle for a marriage in name only, he has some opinions.

This is a wonderfully authentic portrayal of navigating a complex culture. So many details ring true, from festival observances to the love and obligations of family politics to the Israeli-accented English of Penina’s sister. Shertok tells Penina’s story with a lot of humor and honesty and never devolves to deprecation. The writing is descriptive (the clothing descriptions are amazing!) and evocative, and characters and situations relatable whatever your religious or cultural affiliations.

I received an advance reader’s copy of #UnorthodoxLove from #NetGalley.

Happy Birthday to Meeee…


I recently joined a Romance Reader’s group on Facebook and someone posted they bought themselves (or were gifted?) a book for each year for their recent birthday, prompting a LOT of readers to post their ages and the number of books they anticipate for their next birthday. I don’t have a lot of spare dollars to spend, and doubted my family would buy into this idea even if I helpfully provided a curated and prioritized list of what I’d like to add to my collection… but I did somehow manage to acquire a staggering number of items in celebration of my 48th birthday, thanks to advance reader’s editions, the Library’s book sale, Book Outlet, Thrift Books, Better World Books, Target, and Little Free Libraries around town.

Want to gift a book to me? I have a registry on and my local affiliate is the Book Rack in Arlington MA.

Here’s the rundown:

  1. 48 Clues Into the Disappearance of My Sister by Joyce Carol Oates
  2. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
  5. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  6. The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  7. Egg: A Dozen Ovatures by Lizzie Stark
  8. Eight Perfect Nights by Lia Louis
  9. Everything, Everything by Nicola June
  10. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  11. Float Plan by Trish Doller
  12. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
  13. The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
  14. The Girl With Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts
  15. Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
  16. Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey
  17. Icebreaker by Hannah Grace
  18. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
  19. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
  20. Inside the Titanic: A Giant Cutaway Book by Hugh Brewster, illus. by Ken Marschall
  21. It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
  22. Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens
  23. Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram
  24. Little Moments of Love by Catana Chetwynd
  25. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
  26. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
  27. Malkah’s Notebook: A Journey Into the Mystical Aleph-Bet by Mira Z. Almiras
  28. Maine by Courtney Sullivan
  29. The Marriage Game by Sara Desai
  30. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  31. One Night on the Island by Josie Silver
  32. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  33. Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot
  34. Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James
  35. Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey
  36. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  37. The Shortest Distance Between Love and Hate by Sandy Hall
  38. The Singles Table by Sara Desai
  39. Starring Sally J. Freidman as Herself by Judy Blume
  40. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  41. The Suite Spot by Trish Doller
  42. A Taxonomy of Love by Rachel Allen
  43. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  44. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zavin
  45. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
  46. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  47. What Is My Plant Telling Me?: An Illustrated Guide to Houseplants and How to Keep Them Alive by Emily L. Hay Hinsdale
  48. You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld