Riveting mysteries & realistic romances

Fiction 5

My top picks of March new books are three riveting mysteries and two heart-warming yet realistic romances. The Golden Spoon is baking competition turned murder mystery. In What Happened to Ruth Ramirez a family tries to piece together what they once had and find their missing daughter and sister. What Have We Done follows three adults with a shared troubled past and someone who wants them dead. Pineapple Street is a humorous and delightful story about three sisters each trying to navigate their own love life. In Earth’s the Right Place for Love Arthur Moses deals with loss and grief while crushing on the most desirable girl in his class who happens to have a crush on his brother.

1. The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

Every summer for the past 10 years, six wonderstruck bakers arrive at Grafton for the filming of “Bake Week,” a baking competition. The grand Vermont estate is also the childhood home of the show’s famous host, baker Betsy Martin.

Betsy has written numerous bestselling cookbooks and is known as “America’s Grandmother,” however she isn’t as warm off-screen as on. She has always been a perfectionist, but this year something is off. As the baking competition commences things begin to go wrong. At first, it’s merely sabotage — sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned too high. But everyone becomes a suspect when a body is discovered.

This book has characters with unique backstories and motivations to be on the show, and the death that occurs will leave you questioning everyone. It’s fun and creepyat the same time.

“This delicious combination of Clue and The Great British Bakeoff kept me turning the pages all night!” —Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author


2. What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez

The Ramirez women of Staten Island are devastated when 13‑year‑old middle child Ruthy disappeared after track practice without a trace. Twelve years later, oldest sister Jessica spots a woman on TV in Catfight, a raunchy reality show. She rushes to tell her younger sister, Nina “This woman’s hair is dyed red, and she calls herself Ruby, but the beauty mark under her left eye is instantly recognizable.” Could it really be Ruthy?

The years since Ruthy’s disappearance haven’t been easy on their mother, Dolores, Jessica or Nina. After possibly seeing Ruthy on their screen, Jessica and Nina hatch a plan to drive to where the show is filmed to find their long‑lost sister. When Dolores catches wind of their scheme, she insists on joining, along with her best friend Irene who loves getting into trouble. On this family road trip the Ramirez women will finally face the past and look toward a future — with or without Ruthy in it.

“A fantastic debut that is full of attitude, authenticity, and authority. This book is hilarious, heart-breaking, and ass-kicking at the same time.”―Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of The Many Daughters of Afong Moy


3. What Have We Done by Alex Finlay

Twenty five years ago Jenna, Donnie and Nico were best friends. They had a strong bond through the abuse and neglect they endured as residents of Savior House, a group home for parent-less teens. The trio was split up when the home shut down after the disappearance of several kids.

Though the trauma of their childhood has never left them, each went on to live accomplished yet troubled lives. They haven’t seen one another since they were teens but are now reunited for a single haunting reason: someone is trying to kill them.

To survive, the group will need to revisit the nightmares of their childhoods and confront their shared past that holds the secret to why someone wants them dead.

“Alex Finlay proves once again he’s a master storyteller. What Have We Done has unrelenting action, inspired characters, and an innovative, pulse pounding plot. Alex Finlay has become one of today’s top thriller writers. This is why. Read this book.”―Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author


4. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

Darley, the eldest daughter in the tight-knit old money Stockton family, followed her heart. She traded her job and her inheritance for motherhood but she may have given up far too much in the process. Sasha is a middle-class New England girl who married into the Brooklyn Heights family and is cast as the outsider. Georgiana, the youngest of the family, fell in love with someone she can’t have and she must decide what kind of person she wants to be.

This escapist novel will have you falling for the relatable and lovable characters as they deal with first love, family drama and not wanting to lose themselves in the craziness of it all.

“A vibrant and hilarious debut…Pineapple Street is riveting, timely, hugely entertaining and brimming with truth.” —Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest


5. Earth’s the Right Place for Love by Elizabeth Berg

Nola McCollum is the most desirable girl in Arthur’s class. He is thrilled when they become friends, but Arthur wants far more than friendship. Unfortunately, Nola has a crush on Arthur’s older brother, Frank, who is busy pursuing his own love interest.

Both Arthur and Frank avoid their father, a war veteran with a drinking problem and a knack for starting fights. When a sudden tragedy rocks the family’s world, Arthur struggles to come to terms with his grief. Nature helps him understand how to continue living, beyond loss, through forgiveness and empathy. He is most confused about Nora who’s confused enough on her own, not sure what she wants in life, and slightly unaware of Arthur’s existence.

“This is a compassionate, witty, and delicate story about the people who find themselves on the sidelines and yet who manage—despite losses of their own—to be true to themselves and find their way. It’s a celebration of small communities and the small kindnesses that, bit by bit, change a life.”—Rachel Joyce, New York Times bestselling author of Miss Benson’s Beetle


I’m the library’s fiction selector and I’ve been suggesting new books to library and bookmobile customers for over 25 years. I keep up on all the new book reviews, and my favorite question is “What are you reading?” I love to talk about books and to read books. I like to tell library customers, “Try something new. If the book doesn’t grab you, we have many more to choose from."