by Alyssa Goodnight
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Magical Realism
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He's just what she needs...Single mom Jade Moran isn't ready for any big changes in either her horrible '70s kitchen or her romantic life. Her ex did a number on her, and she isn't interested in getting hurt again. But when she meets a super-hot contractor, she wonders if avocado appliances are on the way out and romance is on the way in. Max Gianopoulis doesn't have a clue why he's so enchanted by Jade. She's almost as big a mess as her kitchen, and he's a guy who likes to keep things simple. He let himself get involved with a previous client, and he's not interested in repeating the experience. But Jade has turned up the flirty heat - and he can't keep his hands off her. With everything moving too fast and coming too easy, Jade's insecurities kick into high gear. She's not sure she can trust another man again - and she definitely doesn't believe in magic.
Just Say Yes by Alyssa Goodnight is a contemporary romance with a touch of magical realism. It will appeal to foodies and offers up something different from Browncoat to pop culture references and it is sure to make you smile. Unique characters, growth, friendship, humor and a sweet, slow-building romance made Just Say Yes a winner.
We meet Jade Moran and her thirteen-year-old daughter Evie as they are parking and preparing to enter an eatery/store with a turnip on the logo. Evie is using a “yes” for this excursion and Jade smells a rat. Here we meet Opal the vivacious proprietor and right away, this woman charms me. I loved the little eatery with its mason filed jars, odd menu and southern charm. All of the food is meant to invoke feelings, resolve problems, give confidence etc. Opal introduces them to Max who Jade describes as “the best parts of Neal Caffrey and Harvey Specter combined.” The reference made me giggle:snort and had me settling down, because once again I knew Goodnight was going to entertain me.
At the beginning of each chapter, we get a little tip from the kitchen witch regarding the powers of food and Goodnight has me craving everything from chocolate bark to fig spread. I loved the foodie theme threaded throughout the tale giving us a touch of magical realism.
“Some days, romance needs a little push, a little vote of confidence. For those days, there is chocolate-cherry-blueberry bark. The blueberries will calm your nerves; the cherries will amp up your seductive wiles, and the chocolate means you’ve scored already. —Witch in the Kitchen, Bark Is Better with Bite”
Max is a contractor, Jade needs a new kitchen, and Evie thinks that after thirteen years her Mom needs to date again. The tale that unfolds is charming, chock full of humor and left me smiling.
Five things I learned from reading Just Say Yes
- I want to be friends with Goodnight. She is clearly a Geek. She references shows I adore and her characters discuss Superheroes. If she likes coffee and chocolate, we could totally be BFFs.
- Her characters are fleshed out, realistic, and unique. If you are looking for cliché characters, you will be disappointed. I loved the secondary characters we meet thanks to Opal’s dinners. I would love to see more books develop around this new group of friends. (I also want to recreate these dinners for friends)
- At its heart, the tale is a romance, but Goodnight delivers so much more. I became caught up in their families, their friends and of course Opal herself. I want to spend an afternoon on her porch sipping tea and swapping tales. The angst/tension was low-key with just enough to keep us flipping the pages. The story is memorable from moments of learning to the romance itself. Nothing is rushed and the romance does not rely on tropes. Think contemporary romance wrapped in a “Sarah Addison Allen” type world.
- I love the concept of food evoking feelings, boosting your confidence and fueling passion. I have always loved foodie books and enjoyed the unique way in which Goodnight weaved this into the story. I need to get my hands on a Witch in the Kitchen cookbook
- This is the second book I have read by Goodnight and her stories are memorable. I can still recall characters from Austensibly Ordinary that I read in 2013. I have no doubt that two years from now I will still be able to recall in detail Just Say Yes.
Just say yes to Just Say Yes. A warm, funny, and unique romance you will want to share with friends. This would be wonderful for a reading group. I want to start a group just to talk about it.